Lacey Smith

Rand Paul’s Filibuster

In Uncategorized on March 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Senator Rand Paul (R-TN) is currently on the floor of the Senate filibustering the nomination of John Brennan. He is doing this primarily over the issue of whether or not the Obama Administration can order drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil.

The Blaze reported on this yesterday and included a copy of the letter from Eric Holder which states in part:

“The question you have posed is…unlikely to occur, and one we hope no President will ever have to confront. It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the United States. … Were such an emergency to arise, I would examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the President on the scope of his authority.”

Translation: We are claiming it’s unlikely in hopes that you leave us alone, because we haven’t done it yet but we might.

This is incredibly disturbing for so many reasons. Not the least of which is that the Administration has already shown a disregard for the Constitution.

And so Rand Paul is filibustering.

I’ve been watching the live feed and I’ve learned a lot. Sen. Paul is talking about principles and he really understands them.

Setting that aside, I’m excited for the opportunity to watch a filibuster live and in color. The filibuster, for all it is vilified, is an incredible case study in American freedom. This is where we really see the value of a republic and the risk of a pure democracy.

See, a filibuster is a purely republican action (form of government, not political party). A republic protects the rights of the minority – even if the minority is one. So for  a single individual to hold up the legislative nomination process, it is proof that the tiniest minority possible still has value under our law.

On the other hand, Senate rules are designed to allow for “cloture” in which three-fifths of the Senate votes to end debate. This allows for the majority (if the majority is large enough) to end a filibuster and end the power of the minority. The difference is that a Senator does not have a divine right to hold up debate.

And so with the filibuster we can see both sides of the power of one and the danger of a majority if it is not limited by the law.

I hope Sen. Paul gets the answers he is demanding. I hope that the media wakes up and covers this (so far, I haven’t seen any of that from the MSM). I hope this filibuster brings change.

And when none of those things happen, at least Sen. Paul’s conscience will be clear. Too bad the rest of the Senate won’t be able to say the same.


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