On Thursday the gavel finally came down on the NSA. A federal appeals court issued a 97-page ruling, finding that the NSA’s telephone date collection program exceeds the scope of the law as defined by the Patriot Act.
In an interview with Breitbart, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said that he can’t wait for the Supreme Court to rule the data collection to not only be illegal, but unconstitutional as well. “We initiated a lawsuit on this over a year ago, and we are excited that the appeals court agrees with us,” Paul said.
Senator Paul continued,
Now, they’re saying it’s illegal in that Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act doesn’t authorize that—that the government has gone too far—I think that’s a good first step. We want the Supreme Court to eventually rule on whether this is Constitutional or not. Our main complaint, or one of our main arguments is, the Fourth Amendment says you have to name the person who you want to get a warrant—but not naming anyone and putting “Mr. Verizon” down and saying you can get the records of millions of people, you’re not writing a specific warrant.
You’re writing a generalized warrant. This is one of the things that we fought against that the British were doing to us. James Otis famously argued in court that the writs of assistance that the British were using were non-specific and didn’t use the person’s name—and so we wrote the Fourth Amendment to try to stop this kind of stuff. I guess it’s gratifying that the courts are beginning to recognize the problem. We are anticipating and eager for this to get to the Supreme Court.
Senator Paul offered that he believes some instances call for the Government to be able to obtain digital records for suspected criminals and terrorists, but only if the NSA follows the constitutional process and obtains a warrant for each instance.
“Yeah, I’m all for it—like recently the shooting in Texas, if you’ve got probable cause and you call the judge and you put that gentleman’s name on it, by all means go get it [his records],” Paul told Breitbart News.
The issue of data collection and government spying is by no means an issue that follows party lines. Many republicans, including presidential hopeful Marco Rubio and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were not happy with the court’s ruling – Rubio even went as far as to defend the “illegal” collection on the senate floor after the ruling was made public.
If you are a Republican, will a candidate’s stance on government spying or data collection be a deciding factor in who you will vote for in the republican presidential primary?