Paul Files Suit

Today Senator and surging 2016 Republican Presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-Ky), in conjunction with the Tea Party affiliate FreedomWorks, filed a class-action lawsuit listing the President and senior NSA officials as defendants. Paul is calling upon “anybody that supports the fight” to sign on to the suit, which already has 360,000 signatories, that he claims is the “largest class action lawsuit ever filed on behalf of the Bill of Rights”. The suit concerns the NSAs bulk phone record collection program. Paul’s decision to file suit follows a late December ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, a Bush appointee, that the classified program, created by Section 215 of the Patriot Act and revealed in the Snowden leaks, was unconstitutional. Sen. Paul, in claimin that the program is in violation of the 4th Amendment, is in agreement with Justice Leon, who called the program an “almost Orwellian… arbitrary invasion” of the rights of American citizens.

 On, the flip side, NSA Officials lead by Director Gen. Keith Alexander, in accordance with a Dec. 27 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley, claim that not only are the collections of metadata constitutional and protected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, but also they are necessary in the prevention of acts of terrorism. Gen. Alexander claims that NSA surveillance programs have “provided the U.S. government with critical leads to help prevent over 50 potential terrorist events in more than 20 countries around the world”, and could have prevented the attacks on 9/11 had they been in place.

As the issue remains in the national spotlight, and has led to opposite rulings in the District Courts, the likelihood of this argument eventually reaching the Supreme Court increases. The Justices’ rulings will undoubtedly send a clear message about the relationship between the government and the private lives of its citizens.

 – Julian R. McIntyre III