Rand Paul

Rand Paul to Officially File Suit Against Obama, NSA, FBI, Others, Tomorrow


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been talking about a potential lawsuit over illegal surveillance for months–see Reason's previous coverage–and tomorrow it becomes real, according to a press release at RandPac's site:

On February 12, 2014, Rand Paul will join Matt Kibbe, President of FreedomWorks, and lead counsel Ken Cuccinelli in announcing a class action lawsuit against President Barack Obama, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Director of National Security Agency Keith Alexander and FBI Director, James Comey….

Rand Paul stated: "I am filing a lawsuit against President Barack Obama because he has publicly refused to stop a clear and continuing violation of the 4th Amendment. The Bill of Rights protects all citizens from general warrants. I expect this case to go all the way to the Supreme Court and I predict the American people will win."

Matt Kibbe added "This class action suit isn't about Republican versus Democrat, or progressive versus conservative. This is about defending the basic civil liberties of every American from a government that has crossed the line. FreedomWorks is participating in this suit on behalf of our community of 6 million citizens nationwide, along with any American who has a phone. If you use a phone, you should care about this case. Never in American history has there been such a warrantless gathering of citizens information. We believe it is time to put this before the courts. "

The filing parties are holding a press conference on the matter tomorrow at 11 a.m. eastern. Scott Shackford blogged earlier today on today's "Day We Fight Back" against surveillance, complete with Rand Paul video. The fight gets rougher tomorrow.

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  1. Matt Kibbe added “This class action suit isn’t about Republican versus Democrat

    Of course not! Remember all those lawsuits Matt Kibbe filed against George W. Bush?

  2. This is just getting fun now. Can’t wait to see what Carl Rove thinks.

    1. I don’t know about Rove; but I predict Obama will utter something like:

      “Let me be clear. The fact that I allow, uh, that such actions can be performed proves this truly is the greatest country on Earth.”

  3. Maryland lawmakers want to cut off electricity and water to the NSA. Is this the first time spite will be used as enforce the Constitution against a Federal agency?


    1. Maryland should’ve waited until 2019 for this battle so it could be 200 years after McCulloch v. Maryland.

    2. Some California legislators wanted to do the same thing a couple of months ago.

  4. Courts: “The American people have no standing. Case dismissed.”

  5. So we’ve got a Tea Party outfit, a guy who made the rank of Field Marshal in the War on Women, and Rand Paul…how does the media not simply deflect this as “extreme right-wingers attempting to derail the President’s agenda”?

    They probably should have gotten some token liberals to join the coalition, like the ACLU or somebody else nominally sympathetic.

    I support the effort with every fiber of my being, but I won’t act surprised when it goes nowhere.

    1. I’m none too happy about Cuccinelli. At least as far as my little bailiwick goes, the Cooch is a pretty bad choice. It’s certainly one less reason for me to trust Paul.

      1. I agree with you except it doesn’t affect my trust of Paul because I don’t trust any politician. However, I do think Paul isn’t too bad but who he is allied with here causes me to question his judgment.

        1. Yes, purge an attorney with considerable experience in litigating against the federal government (Obamacare, EPA) – he may have the qualifications to fight this suit, but he is impure! unclean! treyf!

          If Rand doesn’t purge the socons from his movement, how will he attain the level of purity he needs to win election?

          1. Don’t get me wrong – I hope they succeed in this. But Rand choosing someone who wants me in jail for being me calls into question his “small-government” views.

            I recall having a discussion with another commenter here about who Paul was pandering to – SoCons or Libertarians. I think this answers that.

            1. wants me in jail for being me


              1. In his own words

                “My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that. … They don’t comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society.”

            2. Oh Christ the governor’s race is over and done. Can we please just let Paul use an attorney with considerable expertise instead of nitpicking irrelevancies?

              1. Bill Clinton ain’t president but his fucking around is still relevant, according to Rand, anyway.

                The fact that, of all the people he could have picked with similar experience, he goes with someone who wouldn’t mind seeing Deuteronomy and Leviticus placed into civil law. And, if those positions were really popular, Cuccinelli would be too busy being Virginia’s Governor to take the case.

          2. an attorney with considerable experience in litigating against the federal government (Obamacare, EPA)

            And just how well did those lawsuits pan out?

          3. an attorney with considerable experience in litigating against the federal government (Obamacare, EPA)

            And in your other response to me on this thread you decry the ACLU for its ineffectiveness.

            Stick to making up funny songs instead of polishing SoCon knob.

            1. “you decry the ACLU for its ineffectiveness.”

              Um, no, I dealt with a different claim, that using “token liberals” like the ACLU would purge the lawsuit of that evil right-wing stench. That’s not the case.

              SoCon my nuts.

              1. I hope you took that as a joke because that’s how I meant it (except your songs really are funny). I guess I just feel more optimistic than you do regarding ACLU involvement. Every little chink in the progressive armor of bullshit helps, IMO. Not everyone is equally adept at ignoring the sensation of cognitive dissonance so you may get some people to eventually question the party line as they see it conflict with reality more and more.

                My question is similar to SusanM’s: why have someone like the Cooch when you could potentially have someone like Greg Abbott? To be fair, I’m not sure there’s a way we can really know how this was put together but I just want to ask if there are better choices – in the end, rolling back the State is what’s important and I don’t mind Paul’s alliances with those who are “impure” on liberty issues to get that done.

                1. I don’t mind Paul’s alliances with those who are “impure” on liberty issues to get that done.

                  Taken individually, I don’t either. If KC has some special qualification for this particular case that isn’t apparent then fine. Add this to RP’s continuing association with SoCon groups and the picture of where his heart really lies – and what he really means by “small government” is becoming clearer.

                  1. continuing association with SoCon groups

                    The “Trojan Horse” doesn’t come to mind?

                    Looking at who his father is, it is difficult for me to believe that Rand is some sort of shady guy who secretly harbors fantasies of a theocracy.

                    1. Or maybe he just doesn’t think the socons really represent that much of a real threat to liberty in 2014 America. Look, guys, ladies, the Kultur War is over. The socons lost. The only end they serve at this point is that of a bogeyman to keep the kids in line and on the proggie farm lest the former Governor of Massachusetts issue fundamentalist dictates about their lady parts. Oh, and meanwhile, those same proggies are calling every drunken hook-up rape and trying to push artistic censorship because a piece gives a few campus feminists a case of the vapors.

                    2. “Trojan Horse” comes to mind – and then it goes right out again. The more times he shares a stage with people who compare gays to Nazis.

                      And does this sound like a Trojan Horse or a true believer?

                      “‘Libertarian’ ?doesn’t mean ‘libertine,'” he said. “To many of us libertarian means freedom and liberty. But we also see that freedom needs tradition.”

                      Paul stressed that the value of marriage is economic, as well as “moral” and “religious,” and that those virtues can be communicated through families and communities as well as through the government.

                2. “…why have someone like the Cooch when you could potentially have someone like Greg Abbott?”

                  Well, I think Mr. Abbott might be a little busy at the moment.


                  1. Wow, I was not aware of that. Thanks!

                    1. Sarcasm?

                    2. Sarcasm?

                      No, I was sincere. I hadn’t been really following things going on with Abbott since reading that article I linked, which was from a while ago. I only remembered it because that “suing the fedgov tons of times” (and getting some wins) really stuck in my mind.

                    3. Okay, sorry. I’m a bit oversensitive at this point over getting flamed about not getting humor.

          4. Exactly. It really doesn’t matter what you think of him as a candidate for office. Cuccinelli is a very qualified attorney.

            1. Both lawsuits that GKC mentioned failed. I don’t think his batting record in the big leagues is good enough to lean on.

    2. I think you hit the nail on the head, unfortunately. Having the ACLU on board would be their best bet, in my opinion. Frankly, should we be surprised if this gets the treatment you mentioned?

      Of course not. This is a guy who is basically continuing things that Bush did where the Dems and various news outlets cried about it all the time. Curiously, they are mostly silent now. I thought “dissent is patriotic”? (Kudos to guys like Wyden and Udall for voicing their opposition)

      1. Would having ACLU support stop the media from making this an issue of Right Wing Extremism versus the Anointed One?

        Well, let’s see, the ACLU defended the Citizen’s United Ruling – we all remember how that totally blunted the talking points about right-wing Kochporations taking over the public debate with their corporatey money.

        The ACLU supported a whistleblower who wanted to write a book about Fast and Furious. The fact that the ACLU took this issue seriously prevented the progs from calling F&F a phony scandal.

        And the ACLU supported the free speech rights of tobacco companies to advertise, this disarming prog criticism that this was an issue of Public Health versus Right-Wing Big Tobacco.

        1. Notice that I agree with you in it (the ACLU co-signing) most likely being pointless. I just think it’s odd that they aren’t involved seeing their actions in the instances you mentioned.

          1. They could always be a friend of the court.

            Again, I question their *political* effectiveness against the “Right-Wing teabagger assault on Obama” narrative.

            1. Are there many SoCons who have good things to say about the ACLU?

            2. My military experience led to depression as I came to terms with the fact that my existence/opinion/voice/vote is meaningless when compared to giant machines like government or media outlets. You are most likely correct – that particular narrative will continue to have traction.

              But then I see someone like Edward Snowden or our recent recalls here in Colorado and that leads me to think that it is not illogical to still have hope. I hope you do not hold that against me.

    3. Appeal to the media is worthless, so f*** them. Appeal to the WH or Congress is worthless, so f*** them too. Appeal to the courts doesn’t have much of a shot, but it’s a fight still worth fighting.

      About time someone filed a g**d*** lawsuit, Issa doesn’t seem to know how.

      1. I feel that this is just for appearance. There are a few other suits in progress including one by the ACLU filed 5 days after the Snowden leaks. Curios to see which one makes it to SCOTUS first. I hope this one is it. Definitely has the profile, esp if ACLU jumps in.

  6. Justice John Roberts: “It’s a tax – it’s okay.”

    1. It’s a tax on your information, paid in kind.

  7. I’m going with: “There’s no way anyone could have known that they were lying when they lied, so no one was lied to. Case dismissed.”

  8. One problem with Rand’s prediction that he can sue the government and win:

    The government will be hearing the case.

    1. That is always the problem with suing the government – providing the government grants permission in the first place.

  9. Would have been great to have Ron Wyden sign on, but I think the BHO administration would have blackballed him.

    1. Allegiance to the Party above all else, Comrade!

      1. Perhaps, but Wyden’s been pretty outspoken before about opposing the Bamster and other Democrattie policies.

        Is he up in the midterms this year?

  10. Well, if the case goes forward, discovery is going to be an awful lot of fun. And E. Snowden provides a check on the government bullshitting on the discovery requests.

  11. Ryan – I agree! Having Ron Wyden help out would give this bipartisan cred these guys need.

    Otherwise, we all know how this will play out – finally proof that libertarians are all “racistz”. Just look! These white guys sued the president! If Rand Paul were seriously considering a 2016, it’s over now – the LSM will be all over him now playing the R-game.

    1. 2016 *run. Oops.

  12. Does this mean Cuccinelli is going to sue himself for trying to do unto climate scientists what the NSA has done to the rest of us ?

  13. My only comment about SoCons:

    Right now we have two major parties that are economically liberal. SoCons have pretty much lost if you compare their level of power in the 80’s.

    So if I have to have a little bit of distasteful social conservatism in order to get a heaping dose of economic conservatism, so be it. Yes, I may be making a mistake; I’m sure the SoCons will ditch any economic conservatism the first chance they get, but we at least have a significant portion of the country willing to push back on social conservatism. The fact that there is ANY pushback on economic liberalism is the goal to focus on.

  14. You do what you can to whittle away at the machine. It is the same way progressivism has chipped away at our freedoms for 100 years. The trick is getting the taxpayers to pay the legal fees as do progressives…Come to think of it, I don’t mind paying a share of his suit.

  15. Looking at who his father is, it is too difficult for me to believe that Rand is some sort of shady guy who secretly harbors fantasies of a theocracy.

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