|Paul spoke for over 13 hours on the Senate floor.|
Paul was filibustering the the nomination of John Brennan for CIA director because of the U.S. drone program and the Obama administration's refusal to completely rule out a drone strike on U.S. citizens within the U.S.
Now, don't get me wrong. I think Rand Paul is just short of nuts with a lot of his political beliefs. That goes for his dad, too, who named his son after the uber-capitalist Ayn Rand. But remember, Rand Paul is the one who thinks low-flow toilets are an assault on his freedom, and he famously filibustered the National Flood Insurance Program--which helps about 6 million people--because he demanded that the bill include a fetal rights amendment.
But Paul is on target here. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a senate committee hearing that he could not conceive of any possibility where the U.S. would use drones on American citizens within the U.S, and whether such an act would be unconstitutional. Wrong answer. It's clearly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has said, most famously in Tennessee v. Garner, that the use of lethal force on a suspect is an unreasonable seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Now I'm not one of those who thinks that we're just a few ticks away from massive drone strikes within the U.S. So far, that view is reserved for conspiracy theorists. But I would like to see the administration be a little more up front about the drone program, and there needs to be a court in place to provide a check on this immense power that the executive branch has at its disposal.
Eric Holder has sent Rand Paul a letter.
I love the way it starts out: "It has come to my attention." In other words, "Someone told me you were filibustering and that you had a question for me." There are still some unanswered questions after the letter (what about Americans involved in combat?), but at least we got some clarification.