Bill of Rights

It’s on: Rand Paul vows to filibuster Obama judicial nominee

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is ready for another showdown over the Obama administration’s drones policy, this time over David Barron, President Barack Obama’s controversial nominee to First District Court of Appeals.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has filed for a vote Barron’s nomination, which will likely take place on Wednesday, according to The Hill. But Paul is hoping to throw a wrench in the plans, pledging to oppose and filibuster Barron due to his authorship of memos outlining the purported legal case for the assassination of American citizens when he served as acting assistant attorney general in the Obama administration.

The Second District Court of Appeals recently ordered the administration to release the memo. The White House, however, has defied the order, offering senators only limited access to the memo.

“I’ve read David Barron’s memos concerning the legal justification for killing an American citizen overseas without a trial or legal representation, and I am not satisfied,” Paul said in a statement this afternoon. “While the President forbids me from discussing what is in the memos, I can tell you what is not in the memos.”

Rand Paul focuses on Constitution, civil liberties in CPAC speech

Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) offered a stark contrast from other speakers this afternoon at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). While many of the day’s speeches focused on the contentious relationship between the establishment and the grassroots or social issues, the libertarian-leaning Republican focused the Constitution and civil liberties that are being withered away due to an overreaching president and administration.

“Imagine a time when our great country is again governed by the Constitution. Imagine a time when the White House is once again occupied by a friend of liberty,” Paul told attendees. “Now, you may think I’m talking about electing Republicans. I’m not. I’m talking about electing lovers of liberty.”

“It isn’t good enough to pick the lesser of two evils. We must elect men and women of principle and conviction and action who will lead us back to greatness,” he said. “There is a great and tumultuous battle underway for the future, not of the Republican Party, but the future of the entire country. The question is, will we be bold and proclaim our message with passion, or will we be sunshine patriots retreating under adverse fire?”

Sen. Rand Paul Defends the Fourth Amendment

See Video

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) released a video today this morning in which he explains why the Founding Fathers included the Fourth Amendments and offers a passionate defense of the right to privacy.

“The Fourth Amendment was included in the Constitution precisely to prevent the issuing of general warrants, in which blanket authority is given to government to spy on citizens at will,” said Paul. “Individualized suspicion of citizens’ records is precisely the kind of overreach we fought a revolution over. The colonists did not appreciate a British government that would go door-to-door searching anyone and everyone with out probable cause or suspicion.”

“The lesson of the American Revolution was that this should never happen again, and yet the NSA’s data collection program is the modern equivalent of this practice,” he said. “The Constitution is not a negotiable piece of parchment to be ignored or abused at the President’s whim. Washington leaders are expected to obey and protect what they took an oath to uphold.”

“Today is the day we begin to fight back,” said Paul in reference to the protests against mass surveillance that are going on today.

Paul is urging concerned Americans to visit Defendthe4th.com, a website dedicated to his class-action lawsuit against the NSA.

California legislators join anti-NSA push

NSA

In response to the ongoing domestic surveillance controversy, two California legislators have introduced legislation to prohibit state agencies from providing any material support to the National Security Agency.

California state Sens. Ted Lieu (D-Torrence) and Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) have introduced the Fourth Amendment Protection Act (SB 828), based on legislation promoted by the OffNow coalition. The measure would ban state agencies and subdivisions from providing public utilities, such as water, to the NSA or any other federal agency which “claims the power…to collect electronic data or metadata.”

“The National Security Agency’s massive level of spying and indiscriminate collecting of phone and electronic data on all Americans, including more than 38 million Californians, is a direct threat to our liberty and freedom,” said Lieu in a statement.

“I agree with the NSA that the world is a dangerous place,” Lieu said. “That is why our founders enacted the Bill of Rights. They understood the grave dangers of an out-of-control federal government,” he added.

Similar legislation has been introduced in a handful of other states — including Arizona, Kansas and Missouri — and has been hailed as a way to “nullify” the NSA’s controversial (and unconstitutional) domestic surveillance program.

Rand Paul on domestic surveillance: Strengthen the Fourth Amendment

Rand Paul

The solution to the National Security Agency’s broad domestic surveillance apparatus, according to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), is to pass legislation applies Fourth Amendment protections to third-party records.

“I would like to apply the Fourth Amendment to third-party records,” said Paul, referring to the NSA’s bulk data collection programs, which includes obtaining records of Americans’ phone calls. “I don’t think you give up your privacy when someone else holds your records. So, when I have a contract with a phone company, I think those are still my records. And you can look at them if you’re from the government if you ask a judge.”

The comments came during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. Paul also disputed the legality of what the NSA is doing, arbitrarily collecting these records, even if they don’t in anyway relate to actual investigations into terrorist activity. He also said that the Supreme Court needs to take a look at the issue of privacy.

Learn Liberty: Does the NSA Violate Your Constitutional Rights?

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In this new video from Learn Liberty, Professor James Otteson discusses the importance of the Fourth Amendment: “Many people don’t know what their constitutional freedoms are or why they have them in the first place. They’ve gotten so used to the freedoms they’ve enjoyed as Americans that they haven’t noticed just how rare and fragile they really are.”

Defense Department training docs: Individual liberty is an “extremist” view

Do you believe in individual liberty or federalism? If so, the Department of Defense (DOD) says you’re an “extremist,” according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Judicial Watch.

The documents were part of training guides used by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute in 2011 and 2013 to educate Air Force employees and/or recruits on extremism in the United States. It uses the far-left group the Southern Poverty Law Center, which frequently smears conservatives and libertarians, as a source for determining extremist groups.

There are valid as aspects to the report, such as raising awareness toward groups that are supremacist in nature or advocate violence as a means to a desired political end. But Judicial Watch notes that there is no mention Islamic extremism in the report, though it does passively discuss radical religious ideologies and cults. It also briefly mentions eco-terrorism, which comes from the far-left.

But other parts are incredibly concerning, such as how it broadly paints limited government advocates as racists and supremacists.

“The standard hate message has not changed, but it has been packaged differently. Modern extremist groups run the gamut from the politically astute and subtle to the openly violent,” says the report on page 45. “Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.”

Obama supporters sign petition to repeal the Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights repeal petition

We’re kidding….but not really.

Mark Dice, a controversial California-based conservative activist, recently visited a boardwalk with a phony petition, stopping bypassers to ask if they would be interested in signing a petition to help President Barack Obama repeal the Bill of Rights. Much to his surprise, many were willing to sign away their civil liberties without question.

This is actually depressing:

H/T: TheBlaze via The Right Scoop

Rand Paul praises online efforts to protect the Fourth Amendment

In the wake of revelations about the broad surveillance being conducted by the National Security Agency, there has been a growing movement online known as Restore the Fourth that is organizing rallies in several dozen cities around the United States in support of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of privacy.

Much of what the Restore the Fourth movement is doing is being driven off of reddit, a community site with dedicated sub-reddits on various topics. They’ve amassed a community of over 18,500 readers from all areas of the country who are discussing ways to raise awareness to privacy. And they’ve gotten the attention of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

In a video to redditors participating in the Restore the Fourth movement, Paul expressed his gratitude, explained why the Founding Fathers put the Fourth Amendment in place, and surmised that the Supreme Court will eventually have to take up the issue.

“Thanks for rallying to protect the Bill of Rights. I often tell people that you can’t have the Second Amendment if you don’t have the Fourth Amendment. I think your third-party records — the records you give up to Visa, MasterCard, your bank, to your telephone company, to your Internet service provider — these records are yours,” said Paul. “You have arrangements and agreements for privacy, and those arrangements and contracts ought to be defended. The Fourth Amendment ought to be defended.”

What does Lindsey Graham have to Hide?

There is a civil war brewing on the Right on the issue of civil liberties. With recent revelations that the National Security Agency is conducting broad surveillance of Americans’ phone records and Internet activity, even if they aren’t suspected of terrorist activity, many conservatives and libertarians are fighting back.

The trump card for McCain-Graham Republicans and their many allies in the Democratic Party is that they can claim various federal actions have prevented terrorist attacks while the alleged proof is usually classified,” wrote James Antle earlier this week at The American Conservative. “When terrorist attacks fail or do not occur, the surveillance state is vindicated. When terrorism happens, it proves the surveillance state needs more power. To think otherwise is to brand patriotic Americans Nazis, which of course only unpatriotic conservatives do.”

“But so far it is Paul’s defense of the Fourth Amendment—conveniently violated by a Democratic administration—that is capturing conservatives’ imaginations. Tea Party groups are railing against the NSA alongside the IRS,” he added. “Grassroots conservatives seem to be standing with Rand rather than rolling their eyes at the wacko birds. They are quoting Sen. Barack Obama, who was skeptical of trading liberty for security, against President Obama.”


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