The Democratic Senator Who Takes Civil Liberties Seriously

Roll Call has a profile up about how Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) has gummed up the works of the Senate Intelligence Committee over concerns about civil liberties. Excerpt:

Sen. Ron Wyden insists he doesn't have a grudge against fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California. What he does have, though, is a hold on her two legislative priorities of the lame-duck session — and he has, in fact, placed a hold on every major bill coming out of her Intelligence Committee in the past two years.

Wyden's moves to block the two latest bills — a spy agency reauthorization measure (S 3454) aimed at cracking down on leaks and an extension of expiring surveillance provisions from a 2008 law — are the newest demonstrations of how the Oregon Democrat has become the Senate's hardest line to cross on civil liberties issues in the national security arena. [...]

He was one of just five Democrats who voted Nov. 14 against advancing a cybersecurity bill (S 3414) backed by his party's leadership and President Barack Obama. He has been among a small handful of Democratic senators seeking the Obama administration's legal justification for the targeted killing of U.S. citizens suspected of being overseas terrorists, requests he said have gone unfulfilled.

But sometimes, his approach nets gains: His decision to block an earlier intelligence authorization bill over provisions aimed at cracking down on leaks resulted in the panel stripping the language so that it could advance on the Senate floor.

He also led the successful fight against a Senate anti-piracy measure that he said would impinge on free speech. Initially, the bill had broad Senate support, but later it was stalled by a grass-roots opposition campaign that saw numerous senators pull their backing.

Too bad there aren't more Democrats like Ron Wyden, or Republicans like Rand Paul. (Link via InstaPundit.) Reason on Wyden here.

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  • Tulpa Doom||

    He also led the successful fight against a Senate anti-piracy measure that he said would impinge on free speech.

    Assuming they mean PIPA, it was more of an anti-Internet measure than an anti-piracy measure.

  • kinnath||

    This is why Gary Johnson fucked up by running for president (which he couldn't win) instead of running for senator (which would have been close to being a gimme).

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Which would bring the total number of Senators committed to the Constitution to, what, three?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    That's like a 50% increase man.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Even one Senator can wield a lot of influence.

  • Adam330||

    A single senator can be quite disruptive. Having 3, each of which has a few committee seats, they can make a good amount of noise even if they can't pass legislation.

  • kinnath||

    It's not like having the veto power of the president, but a single Senator can effectively halt a bill.

    A block of three or four like minded Senators can have substantial impact on the type of legislation that actually gets passed and sent on to the president.

    So building a liberty caucus in the senate is actually achievable and should be the highest priorty of libertarians.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    He going to need to be excommunicated.

  • some guy||

    Yeah, somehow he seems to have missed the memo that Obama is totally trustworthy and his administration's actions need no oversight.

  • wareagle||

    so apparently with election season over, the same Wyden who was on board with Paul Ryan's "kill the Medicare" bill is in favor again.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    On board? The third senator from New York did more denying of that than Peter ever did. No cock crowed to stop him either.

  • scareduck||

    DiFi: California's Worst Senator. Still open is whether this title is all time, or just currently in office.

  • The Derider||

    Who proposed the amendment banning indefinite detention of us citizens?

    Dianne Feinstein

  • some guy||

    It is possible to be right once and still be the worst Senator.

  • Calidissident||

    Barbara Boxer is worse

  • The Late P Brooks||

    How can a misogynist like Wyden be allowed to call himself a democrat?

    Bow down before the glory which is Feinstein!

  • Cdr Lytton||

    He isn't. It's Ron Wyden (R-NY) as his fans back home call him.

  • ||

    Perhaps you could explain that sentence more. It makes no sense to me.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Wyden married Nancy Bass, the heiress to the Strand bookstore in NY. Since then he's been very evasive about his living arrangements and how much time he spends there vs. in Oregon.

    The R- label comes from him not being liberal enough and taking positions that give cover to Republicans' agenda.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Darned squirrel filter ate my reply.

    In a nutshell, he's living in NY with his NY heiress wife.

    The R part is he takes random moderate positions that give cover to Team Red and undercuts Team Blue. Not my view but from people that should be his supporters. It's funny to watch the disaffection.

  • Jordan||

    Why does Ron Wyden hate DERPMOCRACY? /Tony


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