Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., may have ended his nearly 13 hour filibuster of John Brennan’s CIA director nomination at 12:40 AM last night, but his fight against President Obama’s unlimited use of drone strikes is far from over.
Paul launched his filibuster at 11:47 AM Wednesday after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder refused to rule out Obama administration use of drone strikes on American citizens on American soil. “It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the president to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” a letter from Holder to Paul read.
Paul did not like that answer. Early on in his filibuster Paul replied, “I will not sit quietly and let [Obama] shred the Constitution. No person will be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process,” he said.
At first, Paul did not appear to have an end game. But later in the evening he said he would end his filibuster in exchange for a vote on a non-binding resolution that “the use of drones to execute or to target American citizens on American soil who pose no imminent threat clearly violates the constitutional due process rights of citizens.” Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., declined Paul’s deal, instead offering to hold Judiciary Committee hearings on the subject. That was not good enough for Paul.
So Durbin filed for cloture (a motion to end debate) on Brennan’s nomination immediately after Paul ended speaking. If Senate Republicans give in to Democrats, a final vote on Brennan could be held today. But if they hold firm, they can still push Brennan’s final vote until at least Saturday, and since the Senate will probably be out of session then, probably into next week.
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