It’s not every day that a GOP presidential candidate talks about the drug war’s ‘disparate racial impact’ while trying to run the clock out on blanket surveillance
Matt Welch | May. 20, 2015 8:27 pm
I don't know whether Rand Paul's ongoing Senate talkfest will succeed in running out the clock on the Patriot Act, or (as he is seeking) opening up a debate and amendment process, but I do know that—just like his 2013 exercise—these have been some of the most invigorating hours on C-SPAN in recent memory.
1) Warrants need to be "individualized," because collective law enforcement is the root of much evil.
Paul's root opposition to the Patriot Act is that it is being used as the legal justification for the collection of bulk data against unsuspecting U.S. citizens who no one believes have committed a crime. His opposition to the reforming USA Freedom Act is that it still allows the government to compel third-party companies like Verizon to cough up 100 percent of its customer metadata.
Either way, Paul has stressed all day, this is antithetical to both the Fourth Amendment and the American tradition of individual rights. Collective guilt is what underpinned the segregationist horrors of the Jim Crow south, and of the indefensible internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. The people who really need the Bill of Rights, he has said, are not the prom queens and homecoming kings, but people who are in a disfavored minority, whether ideological, religious, or racial.
2) Internet/telephone/data companies should put up "unified resistance" to federal compulsion to turn over user data.