(Update: the filibuster concluded just before 1 AM, lasting roughly 13 hours, and the CIA nominee was confirmed later in that new day; more talking filibusters are promised in the future however)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and others are twelve hours and counting into a U.S. Senate filibuster of the confirmation vote for President Barack Obama’s nominee for CIA Director, John Brennan. Ongoing speaking by Paul has periodically been interspersed with “questions” posed by other Senators, usually speeches of their own.
As quoted by Roll Call, Paul explained:
‘I don’t rise to oppose John Brennan’s nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle,’ Paul began. ‘The principle is one that as Americans we have fought long and hard for and to give up on that principle, to give up on the Bill of Rights, to give up on the Fifth Amendment protection that says that no person shall be held without due process, that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted.’
Because Democrats control the U.S. Senate, and some Republicans have become deferential to the Obama regime on nominations, if the filibuster ended and the confirmation went to a vote, the nominee likely would be confirmed. Yet, as Paul indicated, the filibuster is motivated not simply over opposition to the nominee, but over fundamental principles of American freedom and constitutional rule of law. [article continues below list of outside resources]
Resources & Additional Reading & Viewing
> VIDEO: for as long as the filibuster is being shown live, this link should bring up the live video stream: http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN2/
The filibuster, unique to the Senate, is a last line of defense for the American people against government action. Under the U.S. Constitution, debate may not be forcible ended in the Senate on any measure without a cloture vote, requiring 60 Senators to vote for an end to a Senate debate. If even one Senator wishes to veto a Senate action he may do so, unless 60 other Senators are willing to vote to stop him.
Senators involved with the filibuster claim that they have been willing to hold the confirmation vote if the White House clarifies whether it believes it has the right to use drone strikes on U.S. soil against U.S. citizens. In other words, in light of past actions and statements, they wish to hear the Obama regime confirm that the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution will still be honored, that no person may be deprived of life without due process of law.
Concerns over a growing sense of the Obama regime’s push for an imperial presidency with eroded rule of law are punctuated by instances of overseas assassinations through airborne drones, including of at least one U.S. citizen with no conviction, charges or ever allegations against him, other than that his father had been an accused terrorist.
Particularly extreme is a recent open admission by Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, no stranger to past controversy, that he would regard the use of drone strike assassinations against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil as permitted by the Constitution.
U.S. law rests upon the notion of being innocent until proven guilty.
One concept that can sometimes trip up those following rule of law issues in security contexts is that, without adjudicated guilt, any reference to a target being a threat, or being the enemy is legally nonsensical.
For example, consider if the Obama regime were to assassinate a U.S. citizen in Illinois with a drone, and then argue that they were not required to arrest and prosecute before carrying the summary execution. If the regime made the argument that they were not required to do so because the American was terrorist, that statement would have no bearing whatsoever in the absence of judicial process. They might as well say that he was a Martian.
In the absence of adequate judicial process, there is no basis to suggest the citizen was guilty of anything, or that the citizen had any kind of status whatsoever as a threat or an enemy. Raw assertion does not make it so.
If the regime were allowed to circumvent the 5th Amendment due process requirement, to take human life without due process of law, the regime puts itself in a position of killing any innocent person with no basis other than its desire to do so, as long as it simply asserts something unilaterally and unproven after the fact.
Other national security issues, naturally, have come up in the context of a CIA nomination.