Paul (R-KY) started speaking around 11:45 am local time on Wednesday morning and finally ceded the floor around 12:40 am on Thursday.
In explaining his reason for the filibuster, Rand Paul explained, “No American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found guilty of a crime by a court.”
His effort began as a solo speech, but he was later joined by seven Republicans and one Democrat, Ron Wyden of Oregon, who questioned the constitutionality of drone strikes on US soil and abroad.
Rand added of the discussion, “I’m going to speak as long as I can to draw attention to something I find very disturbing.”
The Republican senator began his filibuster by demanding that the president or Attorney General Eric Holder issue a statement about drone strikes. His goal was to make sure unmanned aircraft cannot be used to kill US citizens.
Paul is a long-time critic of the president’s unmanned drone policy. Rand Paul’s old-school filibuster came after he received a letter from Holder that refused to rule out a drone strike inside the United States in “extraordinary circumstances” like the September 11 terrorist attacks.
During his filibuster, Paul was joined on the floor by a group of Republican Senators and House members as a show of solidarity. Before he relinquished the floor, Rand Paul explained, “I would go for another 12 hours to try to break Strom Thurmond’s record, but I’ve discovered that there are some limits to filibustering and I’m going to have to go take care of one of those in a few minutes here.”
Wyden, the only Democrat to lend his support to Rand Paul’s filibuster, stated that, while he supports John Brennan’s appointment to the CIA, he believed the Republican senator “has made a number of important points” about the drone program.
Paul’s filibuster prompted the Twitter hashtag #StandWithRand to trend all day as users showed their support — and criticism — of the senator’s effort to block Brennan’s confirmation. But in the end, Rand Paul ended his filibuster and ceded the floor. It is not clear what effect the Republican’s 13-hour effort will have on the confirmation.