Rand Paul is suing the NSA! Or at least he's going to sue the NSA any minute now, you betcha:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will file a class-action lawsuit against the National Security Agency "soon," his office confirmed to The Hill.That's from The Hill. The Breitbart story tells us, "Via Paul's campaign website, more than 300,000 Americans have already indicated they will sign up for the suit when it is officially filed in D.C. District court." Oh, how nice -- this is being done via Paul's campaign site. And as The Hill notes,
Paul had been gearing up for months to lead a suit against the agency, charging that the surveillance program gathering metadata on U.S. citizens has violated people's Fourth Amendment rights.
... His office did not give the specific timeline for when the senator would file the suit.
Breitbart News first reported that Paul would soon file the suit....
The solicitation, which asks for individuals' names, email addresses and zip codes, also asks for a donation to help "stop Big Brother from infringing on our Fourth Amendment freedoms."So in order to get the NSA out of their cellphones and hard drives, 300,000 people have (yes, voluntarily) turned over a hell of a lot of personal data to Rand 2016. But hey, it's worth it, because the suit is reay to roll -- right? Well, no, not yet:
Although no court documents have been filed in the case yet, Paul's advisers told Daily Intelligencer that the Senator's legal team is currently drafting a complaint....So if the suit hasn't been filed, and it's basically going to duplicate an already existing suit when it actually is filed, what's the point exactly? Apart from amassing a campaign mailing list and collecting some checks?
So far though, the details of Paul's lawsuit are murky. A legal counsel for Paul told Daily Intelligencer Friday that he expects the case will be similar to another NSA suit filed by birther provocateur Larry Klayman.
And, as Yellow Dog says, isn't the point of being a U.S. senator that if you don't like what the government is doing, you have the opportunity to write new laws and use persuasion to try to get them passed? Isn't that Rand Paul's job?
What does this mean for the presidential race? New York magazine reminds us that Rand Paul "delights in antagonizing national security hawks in the Chris Christie wing of the GOP." I've been assuming up till now that this is going to be a real split in the GOP, but I'm starting to think Christie is seriously misreading the GOP primary electorate -- I think he thinks voters will go for tough Bush/Cheney-style talk about freedom and 9/11 and terrorism, but base voters seem to have amnesia about their own attitudes during the last presidency, and now associate all national security efforts with the hated Obama. I don't even think a serious terrorist attack on Americans will change this. There'll be no rally-round-the-flag effect among base voters, just because, well, it's Obama, and he's evil. Hell, if even Fox News, run by self-styled macho man Roger Ailes and long a champion of foreign policy muscularity, is promoting Rand's lawsuit, then you know things have changed. However, I don't think Christie knows. He may be as out of step with his party in 2016 as Joe Lieberman was in the 2004 Democratic primaries.
Another curious aspect of this Rand Paul thing is the identity of one of Rand's top allies:
Paul will also be getting an assist from Ken Cuccinelli, the failed 2013 Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate who will be out of his job as state attorney general next week. Sources say that Cuccinelli plans to join Paul's team as a legal advisor for the NSA suit, reprising his role as the Tea Party's most litigious firebrand.Yes, NSA surveillance is very, very wrong, says the guy who wants a government-mandate wand in your vagina if you seek a legal abortion. This, alas, is going to lead to a lot of arguments on the left, as certain dudebros cheer on Paul and Cooch while the rest of us recognize that surveillance is just about the only issue on which they're not utterly appalling.