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Rand Paul on Blocking Indefinite Detention and Saudi Arms Sales

The Kentucky senator laments that "there’s very little of this attorney general, this Department of Justice, doing anything favorable towards criminal justice or towards civil liberties"

When Rand Paul dropped out of the presidential race in February 2016, the self-described "libertarianish" senator from Kentucky vowed: "I will continue to fight for criminal justice reform, for privacy, and your Fourth Amendment rights. I will continue to champion due process over indefinite detention." On Thursday, amid the hullaballoo of former FBI director James Comey's dramatic testimony on Capitol Hill, Paul brought a handful of libertarian reporters inside his Senate office to discuss his recent work on these projects.

Front and center is a new piece of legislation, introduced this week, to once and for all ban indefinite detention. With the working title of "The Sixth Amendment Preservation Act," Paul's bill "prevents any future military force authorization from being used to justify indefinite detention without trial," according to a summary prepared by his office. More from that:

Section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act unconstitutionally declares that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force allows our Armed Forces to indefinitely detain citizens, legal residents, and foreign nationals who are alleged to have engaged in hostilities against the United States. This means U.S. citizens apprehended within the boundaries of the U.S. could be held indefinitely without trial.

The Sixth Amendment Preservation Act repeals section 1021 making it clear that no military force resolution can legalize indefinite detention without a trial and seeks to restore our constitutional commitment to individual liberty.

Emphasis in original. "You never know who could be in the White House," Paul explained Thursday. "Could someone be there that would actually take away all of our rights and begin arresting us for who we are, what we are, what we think, what we read? And so I consider this to be one of the most important pieces of legislation that we'll put forward."

Also covered in the discussion: the senator's efforts to vote down the recent blockbuster arms sale to Saudi Arabia ("winning a battle like this would send a huge message out there"), the Trump administration's tough-on-crime posture ("I think there's very little of this attorney general, this Department of Justice, doing anything favorable towards criminal justice or towards civil liberties"), criticism of Paul's vote to confirm Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and his reaction to the Comey hearing, which we teased out yesterday.

Produced and edited by Todd Krainin. Cameras by Krainin and Mark McDaniel.

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  • Cynical Asshole||

    The Kentucky senator laments that "there's very little of this attorney general, this Department of Justice, doing anything favorable towards criminal justice or towards civil liberties"

    Why would he expect anything else from Jeff Sessions?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Sessions has undoubtedly been Trump's biggest mistake.

  • some guy||

    Not from Trump's perspective. Sessions is going to get tough on the potheads, immigrants and terrorists. This is what Trump wants. Trump probably thinks his biggest mistake was not firing Comey on day one.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, I don't know that "mistake" is the word. Just a sign of lack of principle or regard for rights.

  • Hank Phillips||

    There is a lesson in this for the LP. The GOP does not expect any votes or contributions from potheads, immigrants or terrorists. It does, however, expect votes from jew-baiters, klansmen, nationalsocialist birth forcers, corporate parasites, bailout artists and flim-flam bankers. When it comes down to cases, God's Own Prohibitionists understand that a hand in the till is worth two clasped in prayer. The LP could distract itself less with the whimpering League of Non-Voters and emphasize the law-changing clout of spoiler votes and economy-collapsing effect of asset-forfeiture looting.

  • JuanQPublic||

    The bill of rights exists because it foresees figures like Jeff Sessions.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I mean its good intentioned, the "The Sixth Amendment Preservation Act", but we already have the 6th Amendment and the Bill of Rights. It just needs to be enforced and hold politicians accountable.

  • Curt||

    Yeah, I'm kinda torn on this. On the one hand, writing this legislation implies that the Constitution somehow doesn't have this covered already. That if this legislation fails, then such protection doesn't exist. On the other hand, our government has already demonstrated that it believes it has the authority to assassinate American citizens with no due process. All you need to do is claim they are terrorists. And nearly the entire country gave the president a free pass on that one.

    So maybe, sometimes, you have to write legislation that explicitly states that the BoR protects the things that it says that it protects.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Look at how well the 9th and 10th have held up...

  • Zeb||

    Well, the BOR doesn't come with any enforcement mechanism, so some laws backing it up wouldn't be a bad thing.

    If I had my way, I'd impose long prison sentences on any government official who violates the constitution. Or possibly a good woodchippering.

  • ace_m82||

    Well, the BOR doesn't come with any enforcement mechanism

    The 1st and, failing that, the 2nd amendments.

  • Zeb||

    You try shooting the police entering your home illegally without a warrant and see how that goes.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    If everyone shot at them illegally entering homes, I guarantee cops would stop doing it.

    Furthermore, we have another check to police arresting someone for shooting at police when they are illegally entering homes- acquit the Defendant.

    I guarantee that police would stop doing it then too if people just acquitted the homeowners.

  • RussianPrimeMinister||

    We HAVE seen it, over and over. I'll count the corpses for you, if you like.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The 2nd Amendment is the enforcement mechanism. We Americans just don't use it.

  • BYODB||


    Well, the BOR doesn't come with any enforcement mechanism, so some laws backing it up wouldn't be a bad thing.

    Perhaps not, but arguably there's an entire branch of government devoted to making sure it isn't infringed. I guess in todays world of judicial deference it's become something of a joke though.

  • Zeb||

    It's not only that. When police violate someone's 4th amendment rights, for example, they don't get punished. Some evidence might be excluded from a trial, and a bad guy might go free. But the misbehaving cops don't face any real consequences. What I'm saying is that they should be sent to prison when they violate people's rights and there should be no presumption that they were acting in good faith. That's what I mean by "enforcement mechanism".

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I know Zeb and criminal penalties might be the answer.

    Although, there are criminal penalties for cops shooting unarmed people and they skate.

    Ultimately, its people need to fight back. People need to acquit those police arrest for self-defense. People need to convict police for these crimes and not let them skate.

  • less020||

    loveconstitution - his bill gets rid of "Section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act" that had language that goes against the Constitution. I agree why do we need a bill to uphold the Constitution but that's what happens when our leaders create bills to try and get around the Constitution. The Supreme Court should have found the bill unconstitutional from the beginning and had them eliminate that portion. Ooh yeah they are more concerned about travel bans and which corp is hurting endangered species somewhere.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Is there anyone in Congress better than Rand Paul on the issues. Yes, I know he isn't a bonifide libertarian. He's still the man. Unfortunately the sheep can't comprehend any ideas outside the talking head's circuit

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Is there anyone in Congress better than Rand Paul on the issues.

    Maybe Amash? There's definitely no one better in the Senate.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Amash is great too. I would take a Congress full of both of those guys any day. The mass prog head exploding alone would be serene.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    What makes Rand Paul even better is that there are media (Reason) that actually give Rand Paul a chance to voice his issues.

    Most of the media is TDS and focused on the next way to get Hillary in office.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Instead of focus g on the drug war, Sessions needs to work hard on putting democrats in prison for their crimes. There is currently enough low hanging fruit in that direction to keep him busy for the next eight year.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Just any Democrats?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    No, not just any. Let's start with some of the key villains. Like Holder, Lynch, Lerner, Both Clinton's, Koskînen, the Wasserbeast, etc..plenty of major crimes right there.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, but if he does that it will set a precedent and in the next Democratic administration they'll be putting Republicans in prison for their crimes.

  • RussianPrimeMinister||

    Maybe we can just get them to circle down the drain together?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Going to? They were looking for ways to impeach/prosecute Trump before he was even inaugurated. So I'm pretty sure that ship has sailed. Get them while we can.

  • JuanQPublic||

    This is sorely needed... a Senator actually defending Constitutional principles by challenging the horrific policy in place set by god awful bipartisan legislation.

    We need more "divided government" to mitigate the damage to our country that both parties have no problem doing. They have no principle whatsoever and thrive on reactionism and primitive, intellectually undeveloped tribalism.

  • phenryinohio||

    I too feel conflicted. What is a defense of the X Amendment law? The BOR is against government transgression though and no one seems to f---ing care any longer. I'd go with stronger language.

    "Violations of the BOR by any elected, appointed or employed officials of the government shall be met with prosecution by either the Executive, Congress or the several states as required to enforce, up to but not limited to loss of position(elected, employed or appointed), retirement benefits, banning from further elective office, disbarring if required, banning employment by foreign governments or their agents. All methods of punishment used at the time of the constitution are available within and not barred by this law. Said 'position' unless listed in the Constitution shall be banned from being filled for at least 15 years and require a majority vote of both houses of Congress to be filled after such date."

    it's a beginning.

  • Amogin||

    The senator may be quite right that the Trump-Russia connection is receiving too much attention but what it reveals about the character of the man is noteworthy. He has been shown to be contemptuous of the law and the people who elected him. His administration is more like a budding autocracy than a democratically elected representative government. He lies, insults allies, cheats and enriches himself at the expense of others. Now his allies are attempting to focus on the word, "hope," in order to disguise his flagrant attempt to influence the FBIU- sort of like Nixon adding "But it would be wrong," after he instructed his aides on what he wanted done to end the Watergate investigation. It is telling that his ardent defenders are relying on the statement that he was too ignorant of proper procedure to be guilty of

  • Amogin||

    a crime; although, he was not so ignorant that he forgot to clear the room before making the suggestion. So Americans are left with an interesting choice. They can believe their president tried to subvert a criminal investigation (presidential pardons are not absolute-( other than in novels they cannot pardon those who commit crimes to elect them or themselves) or that he is an ignoramous who knows nothing about government and is unwilliing to learn.

  • crufus||

    "They can believe their president tried to subvert a criminal investigation (presidential pardons are not absolute-( other than in novels they cannot pardon those who commit crimes to elect them or themselves) or that he is an ignoramus who knows nothing about government and is unwilling to learn."

    Can't they believe both?

  • Tionico||

    "Indefinite Detention" was one of the listed atrocities perpetrated by King George Three upon the American Colonies and precipitated our revolt to toss the Kid King and his tyrannical minions from these shores. What we have now is far worse than anything George thought up (though truth be told, HE did not think up much for which he was so vehemently hated, his minions did, but HE pushed them into law and issued the orders to his Chief Minion, Thomas Gage, in Boston, for their implementation. This heinous practice needs to go, as it is directly contrary to our Constitution, yet remaining the Supreme Law of the Land. Civil Asset Forfeiture is not far behind it, and it too must go. Due process of law is EVERY man's birthright.

    I opposed that law when it was being proposed. Why? I did not fear Mr Bush so much, but I was not convinced ensuing presidents would use it honourably. And the recent reign of the kinyun has proven me correct. Trump may not misuse that too often, but for some things he likely will.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    I think this is political grandstanding. A better way to attack indefinite, warrantless detention of US citizens is through courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court. Otherwise it signals that our liberties are contingent on a vote, rather than hard coded into the Constitution.

  • less020||

    Fk- The sad part is our Rights are Declared in the Declaration of Independents to be inalienable rights not to be taken away by man/woman or in your example a vote. The problem is we are becoming a secular nation. We have become to believe we are the end of all things in every universe. It is about time we start living by the rules and laws that started this country. We always had trading from other countries so we do not need all these NAFTA treaties, we always had people come here from other countries to become American citizens and we always will but we do not need to take in thousands of refugees without going through the proper process. I am all for helping displaced people. Set up camps, keep them in their until their countries become safe to go back to or the countries have been rebuild if it was a disaster that displaced them. We had a free market which meant companies could only charge what the consumers could afford. Now if the customers cant afford it the feds borrow money so the certain industries can still maintain their profit levels. Just look at the vehicle, medical, pharmaceutical and now Green industry. All because people have come to believe they are the Gods and only they can provide for us because we are unfit and ignorant to be independent.

  • Bruce 6225||

    Good luck Mr. Senator,
    But I fear the true nature of our Republic is not what it once was.

    BER

  • Hank Phillips||

    Saint Randal has an above-average voting record, but is tolerated by the Gerontocracy Oligarchical Party only insofar as he is exploitable for luring mystics away from the LP and into the rights-destroying lynch mob he himself reinforced by voting for Herr Sessions. The strategy is similar to calling commie looters "liberals." The tactic arose in the Corn-Sugar Belt as the Prohibition Party and God's Own Prohibitionists knelt before the guillotine of the November elections in 1932. But the Liberals only wanted repeal of Mohammedan Sharia prohibition and blue laws the christianofascist autocracy had copied. The wet plank had already been added to the Democratic platform. Today's prohibitionists likewise hope to trick illiterate voters into thinking "commies" when they see the LIB on the ballots.

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