As he has promised for months, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Obama administration, challenging the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s dragnet collection of metadata.
In a press conference held Wednesday, the libertarian-leaning freshman senator announced that he was teaming with FreedomWorks and former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli in pursuing this “historic” lawsuit.
“There’s a huge and growing swell of protest in this country of people who are outraged that their records are being taken without suspicion, without a judge’s warrant and without individualization,” Paul said, standing outside the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
In a statement made in a video defending the Fourth Amendment, Paul declares, "Our Founders never intended for Americans to trust their government."
Paul’s purpose in the lawsuit is to demonstrate that principle by holding the NSA and the rest of the intelligence community accountable for the constitutionality of their activities.
“I’m not against the NSA, I’m not against spying, I’m not against looking at phone records,” Paul said. “I just want you to go to a judge, have an individual’s name and a warrant. That’s what the Fourth Amendment says.”
In an interview with Politico, Paul indicated he believed there is no wiggle room when it comes to adhering to the standards set out in the Constitution regarding the process for searching and seizing information from citizens.
“Whether you breach the Fourth Amendment 20 percent of the time or 100 percent of the time, it’s still not the point,” he said. “The point is whether or not you still collect millions of people’s information with a single warrant.”
During an appearance on Fox News Sunday in June of last year, Paul announced plans to file a class action lawsuit against the Obama administration, demanding it provide legal justification for the recently revealed wholesale watching of millions of citizens not suspected of any crime.
“I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level,” Paul said, according to the show transcript. "I’m going to be asking all the Internet providers and all of the phone companies, ask your customers to join me in a class action lawsuit. If we get 10 million Americans saying, 'We don’t want our phone records looked at,' then somebody will wake up and say things will change in Washington," he added.
When asked by host Chris Wallace why he considered the NSA’s surveillance unconstitutional, Paul responded:
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Photo of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announcing his lawsuit Feb. 12: AP Images