Skip to comments.Ted Cruz to Eric Holder: Yes or no, is it constitutional to use drones on U.S. soil?
Posted on 03/06/2013 12:17:46 PM PST by SeekAndFind
A must-see via Mediaite, not just because this is the right question to ask after Holder’s letter on drone policy yesterday but because it fell to Cruz, the new bete noire of the left, rather than a Democrat to press the civil-libertarian case. Simple question: Is it a violation of due process to fire a missile at a guy on American soil if he's not engaged at the moment in carrying out a terrorist attack? He might be a member of Al Qaeda; he might be planning an attack; but if he's strolling down Main Street in some American town, is there any constitutional justification to toss a Hellfire at him rather than send the cops in to pick him up? Watch Holder's reaction. Cruz has to browbeat him for three minutes to get him to shift from saying it wouldn't be "appropriate" --- which implies that the government might have the power to do it but would refuse to exercise that power for prudential reasons — to finally saying that, constitutionally, it doesn’t have that power. That’s an important admission; unless I missed something, it’s the first time anyone at the top has acknowledged a legal limit to drone strikes under certain circumstances. Here’s hoping we don’t have to point back to it someday.
As Ed already mentioned, Rand Paul’s been engaged in an old-fashioned talk-til-you-drop filibuster on the Senate floor for more than an hour to protest O’s refusal to rule out drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil. A few choice quotes, first from the Examiner:
Barack Obama, in 2007, would be down here with me arguing against this, Paul said on the Senate floor. It amazes me and disappoints me how much hes changed.
More from Breitbart:
“If there was an ounce of courage in this body I would be joined by many other Senators,” Sen. Paul said. “Would you tolerate a Republican who said I like the first amendment, I don’t plan to violate the first amendment, but I might,” he asked rhetorically. He then turned the question around and asked if Republicans would tolerate that sort of vaguery with regard to the 2nd amendment.
As of 1 p.m. ET, he’s live on C-SPAN 2. (You can watch here.) It’s a clever tactic twice over: While Holder’s already admitted that the feds can’t kill you at a cafe, he’s putting the Lightbringer on the spot to formally admit it too. Even if O refuses, the media attention caused by this stunt will highlight for liberals the fact that the anti-Bush they thought they elected in 2008 is a lot more Cheney-esque than they thought. (Then again, many Democrats have long since stopped caring about that.) It’s clever too because Paul needs to make amends to libertarians and paleocons for voting twice to filibuster Chuck Hagel. This is his way of reminding them ostentatiously that he’s still his father’s son.
Exit question: Why is Paul limiting his objection to killing Americans on American soil? Would he tolerate the feds firing a missile at a foreign national sitting in a U.S. cafe? Or have I misunderstood and he’s not actually limiting his objection that way?
Update (AP): Rubio’s late to the party, but the more buzz his prospective 2016 rival gets for this filibuster, the greater the pressure on him to speak up too. Just across on Twitter:
why is it so hard for POTUS to just say NO,it is not constitutional to kill a citizen who is not an imminent threat with a drone on US soil.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 6, 2013
#RandPaul is asking a legit question of Holder.Why so hard for them to just give straight answer?Almost like they feel it is beneath them.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 6, 2013
Update (Ed): Ted Cruz has just joined in to ask questions of Paul, in what looks like a pretty smart strategy. Paul has specifically stated that he will take questions without relinquishing control of the floor, and both Cruz and Lee are asking oddly lengthy questions. In other words, they’re providing Paul with short opportunities to rest his voice, and to add more ammunition to his rhetorical magazine. Puns very much intended, by the way.
Someone has to make the point. Good for Paul.
— Emily Bennion (@SenLeePressSec) March 6, 2013
Obama wants to use drones to take out members of the TEA Party.
Cruz whacked holder so hard this morning his head is probably still gonging. Cruz needs to really, really watch his back.
I am loving every second of this filibuster.
It is the visceral desire of all leftists to use the power of the State to exterminate all those that oppose them.
Yeah, it’s a shame Paul is going to end up voting for him in the end. Prepare yourself. But I am glad he cast light on the question, McConnell never would have done even that.
Yes, but it’s Bush’s fault!
THIS HEADLINE FROM BUSINESS INSIDER:
RIGHT NOW: Mike Lee And Ted Cruz Join Rand Paul’s Historic Filibuster On Civil Liberties
With the Senate prepared to confirm John Brennan as the next CIA Director, Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul is filibustering the vote over concerns about the President Barack Obama’s record on civil liberties.
“I will speak until I can no longer speak,” Paul said. “I cannot sit quietly and let [the President] shred the Constitution.”
Paul is the first Senator to use the “talking filibuster” in more than two years. The outspoken libertarian has said that he will stop talking when he gets answers to questions he submitted to the Obama administration about its drone program.
His speech has focused on violations of civil liberties under the Obama administration, and particularly on a letter sent by Attorney General Eric Holder this week, which claimed that the President has the legal authority to use military force against American citizens on U.S. soil.
When I asked the president, can you kill an American on American soil, it should have been an easy answer. Its an easy question. It should have been a resounding an unequivocal, No,” Paul said Wednesday. “The presidents response? He hasnt killed anyone yet. Were supposed to be comforted by that.”
The speech, which began at 11:50, has referenced everyone from Adolf Hitler to Austrian economist Frederich Hayek and political reporters on the left and right. Warning about the ambiguity over who could be targeted by drones, Paul suggested that they could have been used during 1960s campus protests.
Isn’t it funny how Cindy Sheehan, poster child for the left, was AGAINST drone strikes.
I guess it’s only bad if it’s used against our enemies.
Droning to kill Americans...ok!/sarc
Why does anyone give a sh*t about Holder’s opinion, the Courts should decide the issue and it should be decidedly UNCONSTITUTIONAL, because it denies due process.
It’s not just Paul. From what I have seen, it’s a tag team with Paul, Cruz and Lee.... they are kicking butt!!
I am watching this on C-SPAN.... need popcorn and I wish I could drink a few very cold beers. We need so much more of this. I’ll watch it until the pass out.
Jerry Moran is now up.
The HuffPo portrayed Paul as valiant, saying he took a "stand":
Under the Patriot Act, if Google or others receive an NSL, they must disclose information as long as authorities deem the request "relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities."
Heh... if they don’t know by now that I fall in the category of “opposed to them”,
they won’t ever find out.
Here’s the video of Cruz v. Holder:
Talk abot light and darkness.
Cruz asks a simple and critical question of Holder, which Holder is incapable of answering. Then you realize, it is deliberate evasion.
Holder is but one example in an entire Administration that is anti-American and anti-Constitutional.
The Dems and their media have a double standard as wide as the Grand Canyon.
Good G-d Almighty! Pigs are flying. Ron Wyden. D Oregon has joined the filibuster!
Heading to the floor to speak on Congressional oversight of executive branch & rules for targeted killings. Watch: c-span.org/Live-Video/C-S
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) March 6, 2013
Last week, Eli Lake dubbed Paul and Wyden the odd couple on drones.
Really?! I have to find a TV!
Remember the Alamo!
I was having fun until that nut joined in. Grrrrr
Wow! Still some Americans left in America!!!
This might beron wyden’s finest day for the rest of his worthless life. If so, he chose wisely.
I am so proud Senator Ted Cruz represents my home state of Texas. I am glad he is doing what the voters of Texas sent him to do. I pray he does not fall victim to the go-along-to-get-along disease that infects too many so-called conservatives when they land in DC.
You have a right to be proud! Cruz is consummate T Party! G-d bless Texas!
God bless and protect Sen. Ted Cruz. Long may he serve Texas with courage and integrity.
Yes, it is Bush's fault. He created DHS and the TSA. He signed the Patriot Act and the NDAA. It was always meant for the American people not some Muslim boogieman. The US government is arming and financing Al Qaeda to kill Christians in Syria right now while leaving our borders wide open for God-knows-who to waltz right in.
You are justly proud - just as I am bitterly ashamed of my two Georgia RINO US Senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson. Neither is worth warm spit.
I called both my senators' offices this afternoon and asked if my senator would be joining in Senator Paul's filibuster. The answers were instructive:
- Isakson's assistant didn't even know whether the senator planned to vote for or against Brennan's confirmation - no surprise for a gutless bastard who's often on the enemy's side from the start.
- Chambliss's flunky at least relayed that Saxby planned to vote against Brennan's confirmation - but she couldn't say if he'd go so far as to join the filibuster.
Saxby Chambliss has betrayed Georgians with such clever treachery countless times. Saxby likes to say the right things for the record, but then shrink away when the time comes to back his words with action. In this case, Chambliss knows that Brennan will be confirmed as DCI if his nomination comes to a floor vote. But will Chambliss join the filibuster and prevent Brennan's nomination from even reaching the floor?
Given that Chambliss is having dinner with Stalin tonight, I'm betting he'll bend over again, as usual.
Can’t argue with that.
Keep your powder dry. When these RINO’s terms are up, get behind a SINGLE conservative senatorial candidate and vote them out of office. This is what did not happen in the 2012 presidential election. This cost the conservatives the election and has damaged this country, almost irretrievably.
Grasping for arguments to refute your points, I find none. Obama is merely employing the tools that Bush left for him to use.
Remember those checks and balances that our wise Founders created to safeguard against tyrants? Many of them have been legislated away, and those that remain have atrophied from lack of use. Republicans like to grant dictatorial powers to the Executive, and Democrats like to wield them.
I largely agree with that sentiment.