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Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Rand Paul Filibuster of March 6, 3013

Rand Paul Filibusters the Nomination of John Brennan

Yesterday, for more than twelve hours, US Senator Rand Paul filibustered the nomination of John Brennan to the post of Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Why? Mainly because President Obama refused to clarify an answer to the question, "Does President Obama believe he can order the killing of an American citizen, on American soil, based on nothing more than his own judgment that the person is a threat?" [Click to read more]

The White House did respond this morning. The response was:

“The president has not and would not use drone strikes against American citizens on American soil,” Carney said at a press briefing.

Source: Outside the Beltway

I have embedded a video of the entire filibuster below, as well as a transcript that you can download and read at your leisure.

He started the filibuster with...
Madam President, I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA. I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court. That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, KY, is an abomination. It is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country. I do not rise to oppose John Brennan’s nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle. The principle is one that, as Americans, we have fought too long and hard for to give up on, to give up on the Bill of Rights, to give up on the fifth amendment protection that says no person shall be held without due process, that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted. This is a precious American tradition and something we should not give up on easily.
and ended it with...
Mr. President, I am hopeful that we have drawn attention to this issue; that this issue won’t fade away; that the President will tomorrow come up with a response. I would like nothing more than to facilitate the voting and the continuation of the debate tomorrow. I hope the President will respond to us. We have tried repeatedly throughout the day, and we will see what the outcome of that is. I would like to thank my staff for being here for a long day, for their help. I would like to thank fellow Senators for being supportive of this cause. I would like to thank the Members of Congress who came over to support this cause, as well as the clerks, the Capitol Police, the staff of the Senate, the doorkeepers–who, apparently, I may have gotten in trouble–and anybody else who came to support us, and even the senior Senator from Illinois, for better or worse, for being here to support the cause. The cause here is one that I think is important enough to have gone through this procedure. I sit at Henry Clay’s desk, and they call Henry Clay the “Great Compromiser.” When I came to Washington, one of my fellow Senators said to me: Oh, I guess you will be the great compromiser. I kind of smiled at him and laughed. I learned a little bit about Henry Clay and his career. People think some of us won’t compromise, but there are many compromises. There are many things on which I am willing to split the difference. If the Democrats will ever come to us and say: We will fix and we will save Social Security, what age we change it to, how fast we do it–there are a lot of things on which we can split the difference. But the issue we have had today is one on which we don’t split the difference. I think you don’t get half of the fifth amendment. I don’t think you acknowledge that the President can obey the fifth amendment when he chooses. I don’t think you acknowledge that the fifth amendment, due process, can somehow occur behind closed doors. So while I am a fan of Henry Clay, I have often said I am a fan of Cassius Clay. Cassius Clay’s weapons of choice were said to be his pen and his Bowie knife. He was said to be so good with the first, that he often had recourse to the latter. He was a fierce abolitionist. He didn’t suffer fools, and he didn’t compromise often. But what I would say is that it is worth fighting for what you believe in. I think the American people can tolerate a debate and a discussion. There has been nothing mean-spirited about this debate for 12 hours. I think, in fact, more of it would be even better. I wish we had more open and enjoined debate. The senior Senator from Illinois has brought up good points, and I think there is much discussion. I just hope that this won’t be swept under the rug and that this isn’t the end of this but that it is the beginning of this. I would go for another 12 hours to try to break Strom Thurmond’s record, but I have discovered there are some limits to filibustering, and I am going to have to go take care of one of those in a few minutes here. But I do appreciate the Senate’s forbearance in this, and I hope that if there are some on the other side of the aisle who have been listening and feel they may agree on some of these issues, they will use their ability to impact the President’s decision and will, No. 1, say the Senate should be trying to restrain the executive branch, Republican or Democratic, and, No. 2, will use their influence to try to tell the President to do what I think really is in his heart, and that is to say: Absolutely, we are not going to be killing Americans not in a combat situation. We will obey the fifth amendment; that the constitution does apply to all Americans and there are no exceptions. I thank you very much for your forbearance, and I yield the floor.
And here is the transcript: