Rand Paul: Leader of the US Senate's Tiny Awkward Squad - Spectator Blogs

16 November 2012

Speaking of politicians worthy of your support, here’s Senator Rand Paul doing his thing:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is holding up a vote on the Defense Authorization Act until he gets a vote on his amendment affirming the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution and the indefinite detention of Americans.

[…] Paul’s amendment would give American citizens being held by the military rights to a fair trial with a jury of peers and the right to confront the witnesses against him or her.

“A citizen of the United States who is captured or arrested in the United States and detained by the Armed Forces of the United States pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense,” the amendment states.

Keen observers of the American scene will know that this Amendment has no real chance of passing. This is the sort of crazy notion that will never catch on and only a daft, romantic fool believes in it. But, hey, that’s Washington for you. A city that makes a fetish of the Constitution but prefers to ignore it.


Rand Paul – son of Ron – is not always right or even sound on everything but – like Senator Jim Webb – he has the great virtue of knowing what he believes and being prepared to stick up for it. The Senate – like the Palace of Westminster, frankly – could do with more awkward buggers of his sort.

[Via Reason]

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  • rndtechnologies786


  • the viceroy’s gin

    Always amusing, to have an authoritarian Euro socialist lecturing others about authoritarianism, and cherrypicking libertarian thought.

    Carry on, comrade.

  • JEB

    A lot of people who really should know better about these sorts of things are writing breezy and snarky pieces like yours, Alex. However, American law has always (and I do mean “always”: this is a concept that comes directly from the mother country) recognized that rights in times of peace are different from, and in most ways greater than, those in times of war. The question of whether this is a time of war is an interesting and important one, and I hope that you and writers like you think and write more about it. The question of whether the US Constitution (and the English common law that most of it, including the 6th Amendment, codified) applies identically in war in peace, however, is not.

    • JEB

      I apologize. The parenthetical statement in my last sentence is backwards: the US Constitution, including the 6th Amendment, is mostly a codification of the English common law, not the other way around. What I mean by that is this: the 6th Amendment refers to “the” right to a speedy and public trial, the definite article indicating that such a right exists (and existed) in the common law, independently of the 6th Amendment.

  • jasonhagle

    How does a reiteration of what the Constitution already says not have a chance of passing in the U.S. Senate? Probably because there’s only one Rand Paul there.

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