Representative Rand Paul is carrying out an old-fashioned filibuster that will hold up for an indefinite period the confirmation of John Brennan as chief of the CIA.
Rand_Paul is focusing on the dangers of drone strikes against Americans in the US. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today (March 6) that any Republican attempt to block a vote would lead him to start the process of ending debate. However, Reid did not actually begin the paperwork that would allow him to do this. As a result Reid cannot break in on Paul while he is holding the floor. The only solution seems to be for Paul to finally yield.
Rand Paul is a Republican and junior United States Senator for Kentucky.He is a member of the Tea Party and describes himself as a constitutional conservative and libertarian. He is the son of the recently retired libertarian and former representative from Texas, Ron Paul. Rand Paul said:“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 to be found guilty by a court."
Paul was angry at the response of Attorney General Eric Holder to a letter Rand had written. Holder claimed that there were extraordinary circumstances in which a drone could be used to target a US citizen on US soil. Paul went on:"That Americans could be killed in a café 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 don't rise to oppose John Brennan's nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle.”
Paul admitted that he did not actually worry that Obama would give an order to kill a US suspect in the US, but he was concerned that this was not ruled out. Paul acknowledged as well that he cannot block Brennan's eventual nomination. However, Paul took the opportunity to criticise what he calls the overreach of the president's power. The president gives himself the power to be judge, jury, and executioner. As Rand put it, theoretically, an American suspect could be driving down Constitution Avenue in Washington and randomly killed in an air strike.
Paul's filibuster was drawing attention on Tea Party blogs, and also on Twitter where many praised his attack on drone policy. Rand's Republican colleagues were apparently unaware of Paul's plans and had expected to vote on Brennan's nomination some time today (March 6). Another Senator, Ted Cruz of Texas, also criticized Holder's response to Paul's letter.