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Paul stands up for Constitution



Published: Mon, March 11, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

As more details COME TO light on the Department of Justice White Paper, the memo on the legality of drone strikes against American citizens, the little publicized nomination of John Brennan to be CIA director has become a major issue.

Sen. Rand Paul, R.-Ky., has taken a stand against this encroachment of constitutional rights, along with five other senators.

Sen. Paul filibustered the nomination of Mr. Brennan to proclaim his disagreement with the Obama Administration’s position that drone assassinations of American citizens, while on American soil, are legal. Our Constitution requires that no citizen can be “deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Does the presidential oath of office state that the president is to “preserve, protect, and defend the constitution as long as it is convenient…”? No, the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land and does not allow for exceptions to broaden the power of the government to ignore our basic rights to kill American citizens without due process.

No president or bureaucrat, regardless of party, can ignore our fundamental rights and kill an American citizen without the constitutionally mandated due process of law guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment. The Constitution was written to protect citizens from government. The Eighth Amendment also protects us from “cruel and unusual punishments.” The Supreme Court ruled in Kennedy v. Louisiana that the death penalty for tried and convicted child rapists violates the Eighth Amendment. Does not that protection apply to the assassination of an American citizen via drone on the mere suspicion of terrorism? If the court would consider something of that order to be “cruel and unusual punishment”, one would think it would surely consider a policy as egregious as this to be in violation of the Eighth Amendment. I believe so, and I believe that most of my fellow Americans do as well. This policy is in violation of at least two amendments of the Constitution, and thus I applaud Sen. Paul for his courage on this issue.

Tex Fischer, Youngstown

The writer is chairman of the Teen Conservatives organization in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.


Comments

1KSUgrad(144 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

@ Tex Fischer,
You seem like a decent sort of fellow, one who might be open to seeing both sides of discussion.

In that light I will recommend that you read the recent book "the Presidents Club" . In this book the living presidents recounted their observations about the presidency. The authors claim that there was a consensus among all the presidents, to the effect that they were shocked about how little they really understood about the job while they were running.

In particular, none were prepared for the information in regular threat assessment briefings. The information given to the president is not available to the Senators, Congressmen, Governors etc.

What the President and Commander-in-Chief is asked to do is to protect the people of the United States. He is also pledged to do that in the context of the Constitution. What we ask him to do is balance those imperatives.
His job is to either take action or not in the face of threat.

Neither you nor I or Rand Paul knows the actuality of these threats, we also don't have any idea of the progression of threat from possible, probable to imminent. A possible threat may become an imminent threat in a matter of minutes.

Paul's filibuster raised an important awareness. But the hypothetical posed that the president would launch a drone strike on a person sitting in a Starbuck's cafe based on a (your words) "mere suspicion of terrorism" is ludicrous.

Your letter actually does illustrate one significant idea, specifically that the constitution and the ideals expressed therein are not absolute.

Best of luck with your Teen’s awareness.

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2texfischer(3 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

@KSUgrad The Presidential oath of office does not stipulate that the President is to uphold the Constitution when it is convenient. When an American is not presenting an imminent threat, they are guaranteed due process outlined in the US Constitution. Now, that being said if there is an imminent threat being posed, as in someone being held at gun point, then neither I, or Senator Paul, or anyone, have a problem with that.

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3KSUgrad(144 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

@Tex,
I assume that, as chair for the Teen Conservative organization that you are yourself a teen. If not, please pardon my saying that you probably do not have a first hand recollection of Sept 11 2001.

On that day one of the commandeered aircraft appeared to be enroute to crash another plane into the Washington DC area. On board that airplane were 40 innocent Americans and 4 suspected terrorists.
If fighter aircraft could get there before, President Bush was placed in the awful position of ordering the Air Force to shoot down flight 93, presumably killing all on board.

Should the President have the authority to react in the only way he was capable?

In the days that followed, while F16s flew racetrack oversight over many cities, fighters were prepared to shootdown.

The point here is that extraordinary events may necessitate taking life or liberty without due process.

I understand that Rand Paul was dissatisfied with DOJ’s lack of precision in defining ‘how imminent is imminet’. But Rand also did not provide a precisely defined hypotethical.

I give credit to Paul’s intensity. But as Graham & McCain pointed out, it doesn’t mean he is right.

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4thediffrence(13 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Rand Paul is an idiot. Keeps saying Hitler was elected and he wasn't he was appointed. Also keeps referring to The President as Hitler. AllTea party people are nut bags who do not understand government and do not want government they want anarchy. Rand Paul IS THE PERSON HE'S WARNING EVERYONE ABOUT.

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5texfischer(3 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

@KSUgrad. Firstly, I remember 9/11 perfectly fine, and I don't appreciate your condescension torwards me due to age. Secondly, as I pointed out, IMMINENT THREAT, that was an imminent threat and is universally considered to be such. So I have no problem with that. But I'm not sure you are understanding the point I'm trying to make here. I'm not saying that no one at any time, regardless if they pose an imminent threat can not be killed. I am saying that unless a citizen is posing an IMMINENT THREAT, they must be given due process.

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6KSUgrad(144 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

@texfischer,
I apologized ahead of time regarding your first hand recollections on 9/11, no condescension intended. You facebook photo makes you appear to be somewhere around 16; if that is accurate then you would have been five or so. In that case you could be excused for not have significant recollection of the events of that day.

Moving on.... Since your critical point is the imminent factor, how would you propose that determination be made? And will your proposal account for the time scale where "possible" may escalate to "imminent" in seconds?

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7HappyBob(285 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Mr Fischer,
you wrote: "the little publicized nomination of John Brennan has become an issue"
Were you on another planet for the past two months? Brennan has been on the hot seat since Obama nominated him.

Rand Paul just used the Brennan confirmation proceedings as a soapbox to espouse his liberitarian agenda. His fillibuster had little, if anything at all, to do with Brennan's confirmation.

In the end the Senate confirmed Brennan by a wider margin than Obama's reelection.

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8Woody2(26 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Texfisher,
So you are now saying that the constitutional guarantees of due process can be ignored if there is an imminent threat?
Please clarify!

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9Woody2(26 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

texfisher,
Got nothing to say? No defense?

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