Speaking to a standing ovation at CPAC, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that the Fourth Amendment is as important as the Second Amendment in the fight for liberty and conservatives cannot forget that.
The potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate cited abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, who vowed not to sit quietly when liberties were being taken away, and said that the Sons of Liberty who fought against British soldiers “writing their own warrants would today make a bonfire of secret orders.” Paul said they would say, “We will not be detained, spied upon… We will not trade liberty for security; not now, not ever.”
Yet as Americans protest the National Security Agency’s spying programs, Paul said that the federal government still monitors everyone’s cell phone activity.
“I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business,” Paul said. “I believe this is a profound Constitutional question: can a single warrant be applied to millions of Americans’ phone records, emails, credit cards?”
Paul said that though the government maintains that Americans do not own their records and credit card statements, he disagreed because the Fourth Amendment is “very clear” that a single warrant for “millions of Americans’ phone records hardly sounds specific to an individual.”
Paul said that issuing “generalized warrants that don’t name an individual and seek the records of millions of individuals goes against the very fabric of the Fourth Amendment.” He recalled that John Adams said that James Otis’s revolt against generalized warrants was the “spark” that started the American Revolution.
He said in the “great battle for the heart and soul of America,” the Fourth Amendment is “equally as important as the Second Amendment, and conservatives cannot forget this.”
He also said that anybody who has been a minority, whether because of the “color of your skin or the shade of your ideology,” or been persecuted or “paddled upstream” should be afraid that the government might imprison Americans without a trial. He said those who have been minorities because of thought or religion or anyone who has taught children at home or prayed to God without permission should also be alarmed that a government could “presume to imprison without trial.” He slammed Obama for authorizing the imprisonment of American citizens without a trial and said that “our rights are inherent” and they are “inseparable from person.”
“They are innate,” Paul said of the rights given to man by God. “And no government can take them away from us.”
Paul then said that Obama is setting a precedent for lawlessness and destroying future checks on tyranny.
“We must stop this president from shredding the Constitution,” Paul said after citing Montesquieu’s declaration that if the executive branch usurps the legislative authority, “a tyranny will ensue.”