The Rand Paul filibuster was all about drone strikes against US citizens on American soil. Rand Paul wanted to use the John Brennan CIA confirmation as a soapbox to make a point on due process laws in the United States. This talking filibuster was espoused by people like Jon Stewart and many on the TwitterSphere used hash tags like #filibuster and #StandWithRand to declare support for the Republican Senator.
The Rand Paul filibuster on drone strikes in the USA came within hours of the talking filibuster record:
“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.”
Rand Paul says the verbal filibuster is not really about the CIA confirmation of John Brennan, but about drones strikes in the United States:
“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.”
Unfortunately, this question has already been answered once before, not only by Eric Holder, who says Obama has the legal authority to order drone strikes to kill US citizens on American soil, but by the Bush Administration over 10 years ago.
The October 2001 memo from John Yoo, the Assistant US Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003, pertains to “the authority for the use of military force to prevent or deter terrorist activity inside the United States.” Yoo argues that “Article II of the Constitution, which vests the President with the power to respond to emergency threats to the national security, directly authorizes use of the Armed Forces in domestic operations against terrorists.” As precedents for making his case, Yoo cited US presidents invoking Article II power against “terrorists” in America, specifically the Whiskey Rebellion, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and conflicts with “Indian tribes and bands.”
This means that drone strikes on Americans has been given legal precedent by two Presidential offices from both major political parties. Rand Paul’s filibuster question may have already been answered twice, but he’s right to bring it up once again so that the public takes notice.
In addition to the Rand Paul filibuster on drone strikes, what else do you think would need to happen for Congress to specifically address this question in law?