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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mr. Paul Goes To Washington To Protect Your Rights

IBD Editorials

Rule Of Law: At press time Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul was holding forth on his filibuster against the nomination of John Brennan as head of the CIA. It's good to know someone in Washington still cares about the Constitution.
It started out as a simple question from Paul to Attorney General Eric Holder as to whether President Obama "has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial."
The plain, simple answer is no, since it clearly violates the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment due-process protection. But that wasn't the answer that came back from Holder, compelling Paul to filibuster Brennan.
"It is possible, I suppose," wrote Holder, "to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States."
It's unbelievable that the nation's top law officer would answer in that way. And, with the explosion in the number of drones filling the nation's skies, it's more than an idle question or philosophical musing.
That's why Paul is filibustering Brennan's controversial nomination as CIA head. Paul knows he likely won't succeed. But he's making an important point.
"No American should ever be killed in their house without warrant and some kind of aggressive behavior by them," Paul said. "I will not sit quietly and let (Obama) shred the Constitution. No person will be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process."
Paul's filibuster abounds in irony. Obama, after all, was among those who argued that interning prisoners of war at Guantanamo somehow violated U.S. law. And he pushed hard to have civil trials for combatants, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Based on Holder's letter, he and Obama seem to think a mass murderer of 3,000 has more rights than you do. As Paul noted, in 2007 Obama likely would have joined the filibuster. But that was a Republican president then.
This is more than mere hypocrisy. Obama and most of those serving in his administration come from a Progressive tradition that not only doesn't revere the Constitution, but sees it as an impediment to the exercise of power. It's a fundamentally dangerous idea.
Along with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has lent his support to the filibuster, Paul is standing up for Americans' right not to be killed by their own government without cause or due process. We're glad someone is.

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