The Rand Paul filibuster, which one website called a Paulnighter, ended after nearly 13 hours, but you can watch the highlights in the two-minute video below.
The GOP Senator from Kentucky droned on about drones in the US Senate chamber from about 11:45 local time on Wednesday until nearly 1 am on Thursday in an effort to stall the up-or-down confirmation of John Brennan.
Paul may have been using the heavy media (including social media) play of the filibuster to burnish his credentials for higher office , but he was also making a critically important constitutional point: Under the 5th Amendment in the Bill of Rights, no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
The Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan’s CIA nomination was an outgrowth of Brennan’s unwillingness (and the unwillingness of the Obama administration itself ) to disavow deploying an unmanned drone strike on a US citizen on American soil. The filibuster was the old-fashioned kind, where the senator needed to talk almost continuously to hold the floor and was famously dramatized in the Jimmy Stewart movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Paul was assisted in his filibuster efforts by Sen Ted Cruz (R – Texas), Sen. Mike Lee (R – Utah), Sen. Ron Wyden (D – Ore.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R – Fla.), and various other lawmakers in a show of solidarity and who Paul yielded the floor to temporarily so they could ask questions and expound on the constitutional issues in play (and thereby give Paul somewhat of a breather– although he couldn’t leave the room).
Rand Paul’s filibuster prompted the hashtag #StandWithRand to trend all night and into the next day on Twitter. Sen. Cruz periodically took the floor to read #StandWithRand tweets from around the country expressing support for the filibuster even from those normally on the other side of the ideological spectrum.
As Senator Paul stated as he began the filibuster — or filiblizzard — yesterday,
“I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the C.I.A. 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.”
At the end of the filibuster, to the sound of applause, Sen. Paul quipped: “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.” Sen. Thurmond of South Carolina spoke for 28 hours, setting a record. But the Rand Paul filibuster was different: “Unlike some historic filibusters, in which senators have read from the phone book or recited the Declaration of Independence to kill time, Mr. Paul kept the focus squarely on drones, using most of his time to discuss questions of actual policy.”
Watch the 12-hour-plus Rand Paul filibuster, two-minute version: