Stand with Rand for the Bill of Rights: Defend our liberties or watch them slip away

Rand Paul
(Photo credit: CSPAN)

The nomination of David Barron to the First Circuit Court of Appeals is not about transparency, but rather the right to due process guaranteed in the Constitution, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) explained this morning.

“I rise today to oppose the nomination of anyone who would argue that the President has the power to kill American citizens not involved in combat,” said Paul in a 31-minute speech on the Senate floor. “I rise today to say that there is no legal precedent for killing American citizens not directly involved in combat and that any nominee who rubber stamps and grants such power to a President is not worthy of being placed one step away from the Supreme Court.”

The Obama administration has indicated that it will make public the controversial memo written by Barron that gave President Barack Obama the legal justification for the assassination of American citizens accused of terrorist ties, including those who are not involved in combat. Paul, however, explained that the issue the Senate must face isn’t transparency, but the substance of the memo.

“It isn’t about seeing the Barron memos. It is about what they say. I believe the Barron memos disrespect the Bill of Rights,” Paul explained. “The nomination before us, though, is about killing American citizens NOT engaged in combat,” The nominee, David Barron, has written a defense of drone executions of American citizens NOT directly involved in combat.”

The Kentucky senator defended the rights to due process and trial by jury guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. “If we cannot defend the right to trial for the most heinous crimes, then where will the slippery slope lead us?” he asked. “The greatness of American jurisprudence is that everyone gets his or her day in court no matter how despicable the crime they are accused of.”

“If they are found guilty, the method of punishment is not the issue,” Paul said. “The issue is and always has been the right to a trial, the presumption of innocence, and the guarantee of due process to everyone, no matter how heinous the crime.”

Paul appealed to his colleagues on the other side of the aisle, telling them that Barron’s nomination isn’t a partisan issue. He declared that he would oppose this nomination if he had been presented to the chamber by a Republican president. He challenged Democrats to ask themselves: “How would I vote if this were a Bush nominee?”

Not long after speaking from the floor, Paul asked for unanimous consent to delay Barron’s nomination until the American public had the opportunity to view the memo. An unidentified Democrat, however, objected, allowing the confirmation vote at 2 pm to proceed as planned.

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