“Madam President, I rise today in support of the Fourth Amendment Protection Act,” declared Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) from the Senate floor on Thursday, as his colleagues prepare to vote on renewal of amendments to FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The current iteration of FISA, the 2008 FISA Amendment Act, is set to expire on December 31 and is among the priorities on the holiday-shortened slate of congressional business to be considered over the few remaining hours of 2012.
In his speech, Paul went on to quote the text of the Fourth Amendment, one of the rare moments when a federal lawmaker not only refers to the Constitution, but quotes it and rises to its defense, in fidelity to his oath of office.
“Our independence and the Fourth Amendment go hand in hand. They emerged together,” Paul said. “To discount or to dilute the Fourth Amendment would be to deny really what constitutes our very republic,” he added.
Paul’s remarks served as the introduction to legislation co-sponsored by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) that intends to amend the 2008 FISA Amendments.
In describing the purpose of his proposal, Paul said, “This amendment would restore the Fourth Amendment protection to third party records. This amendment would simply apply the Fourth Amendment to modern means of communications. E-mailing and text messaging would be given the same protections we currently give to telephone conversations.”
An advance copy of the Fourth Amendment Protection Act was obtained recently by The New American. The measure reads:
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