Drones, Due Process, and Standing with Rand

Helen Shibut

I don’t always support Rand Paul. Like many other libertarians, I was extremely disappointed by his endorsement of Mitt Romney’s presidential bid in 2012. I also think he should take the focus off his pro-life position, for the good of the larger liberty movement. But when it comes to his nearly thirteen hour filibuster of John Brennan’s nomination for director of the CIA, I stand with Rand.

Leading up to his filibuster and throughout the long hours in which he talked, Paul repeatedly demanded that the Obama administration affirm that it does not have the constitutional authority to order drone strikes on American citizens on American soil. As Paul said, this should have been an easy concession. Of course the president cannot have Americans killed without due process—stating a charge against the accused, and granting him legal representation and a trial by jury.

Speaking on the behalf of the administration, Attorney General Eric Holder blustered about the unlikelihood of drone strikes within the United States and promised that such strikes haven’t occurred yet. Oh, good. Why couldn’t Holder just say, “No, the government cannot shoot down Americans with drones inside the country”? Probably because he and many other government officials believe they can do just that.

This isn’t a partisan issue. Large majorities of both Republican and Democratic elected officials resent any attempt by their constituents and their Constitution to restrain their powers. But public pressure and the fear of not getting reelected can motivate these politicians to protect the rights of all Americans guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. On the issue of drones and due process, I encourage everyone to stand with Rand. Remind your representatives that they work for you, and that you don’t want to hear drones buzzing around your town.