Another Vote to Defund NSA Surveillance Programs?
August 18, 2013 - 11:27 am
Rand Paul thinks that the constitutionality of the surveillance programs should be decided by the Supreme Court:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday called for a Supreme Court review of the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s top-secret surveillance programs, arguing that congressional hearings and new safeguards announced by President Obama might not be sufficient to ensure privacy rights.
“I think the constitutionality of these programs needs to be questioned, and there needs to be a Supreme Court decision that looks at whether what they are doing is constitutional or not,” Paul told “Fox News Sunday.”
“The checks and balances are supposed to come from independent branches of government,” Paul said. “So he thinks that if gets some lawyers together from the NSA, and they do a powerpoint presentation and tell him everything’s ok, that the NSA can police itself.”
He also accused the National Security Agency and White House of deliberately misleading Congress and the public about ongoing surveillance programs.
“They chose not to report the program, period,” Paul said. “They said they weren’t looking at any American data or any phone calls, and it turns out they’re looking at billions of phone calls every day.”
Paul, who has admitted to weighing a 2016 presidential bid, added that “the only way to find justice is to hear both sides.”
“There really needs to be a discussion of people who are more skeptical of the NSA in an open court, I think before the Supreme Court.”
The last time Amash brought the issue to a vote, the GOP leadership backed him. But no one expected the vote to be that close, and the GOP leadership does not want to get into a pissing match with Obama about which side is stronger on terrorism. Amash is likely to have considerably more difficulty in getting another vote.
That is, unless there has been a sea change in sentiment on both sides of the aisle, in which case a vote would be pro-forma. This is possible. The Washington Post revelations have unsettled many in Congress and it is reported that members are really hearing about NSA snooping from constituents during this recess.
What mood will they be in when they get back? Second time may be the charm for Mr. Amash.