Senator Rand Paul has expressed his opposition to an appointment by Obama of Judge David Barron to the 1st Circuit Court of appeals. Like his filibuster of the nomination of now CIA Director Brennan, Paul protests this nomination on the grounds that the appointee has no respect for the Fifth Amendment, which states (emphasis added):
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The Fifth Amendment enumerates Americans’ right to due process if suspected of having committed a crime, which involves indictment, a grand jury finding enough evidence to pursue criminal proceedings. But an indictment is not a conviction, also an important part of due process before one can be deprived of life, liberty, or property. Yet President Obama has killed American citizens abroad with drones, without them being convicted of a crime. Judge David “Barron circulated a memo that authorized the extra-judicial killing of two American citizens, radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and Islamic extremist Samir Khan. Both would be assassinated by a CIA drone the following year.”
Paul makes it clear that he has “no sympathy” for the suspected terrorists, but believes whole-hearedtly in the rule of law. If a justification can be made to kill an American abroad without due process, then how long before that same justification is made at home? Because these days all they have to say is “terrorism”, and people will throw away their rights, in the name of “security”. Sort of like the clamor to lynch the younger Boston Marathon bombing suspect after he was aprehended—but he is an American citizen, and has the right to a fair trial. (On a side note, the pursuit against the Boston Marathon suspects was also used to violate the Fourth Amendment rights of the citizens of Watertown.)
The right to due process is not some negotiable aspect of our Constitution, subject to the whim of whoever happens to be sitting in the Oval Office.
The Bill of Rights existed long before President Obama was elected, and as long as I’m a U.S. Senator, I will fight to protect the basic rights and liberties that belong to all of us as American citizens.
When I talk with our brave young men and women who have sacrificed so much for their country, many of whom have lost limbs, they understand that they were fighting to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
It dishonors their service and sacrifice to find that upon their return home, we are not honoring due process and the right to trial by jury.
Such legal protections are quintessential to our most basic freedoms, dating all the way back to the Magna Carta. Our constitutional rights are not negotiable.