Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) made an appearance on Fox News Channel’s Hannity show on Tuesday evening, in a special interview filmed in Louisville, Kentucky, where he had announced he was running for president earlier in the day.
During the interview, Paul called on his fellow Republicans to stand up for the civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights as strongly as they do for the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Host Sean Hannity asked Paul how he describes himself politically, as a “Reagan Republican,” “Constitutional conservative,” or what terms he would use.
“I like the words ‘Constitutional conservative,’ but more and more over the last three or four years, I’ve come to realize we need someone who stands up for the entire Bill of Rights,” responded Paul.
Paul remarked that the Republican Party has been great at advocating for the Second Amendment, and that was an important right, but not the only one that was important. Specifically, Paul mentioned that conservatives were forgetting the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections, the Fifth Amendment’s right to due process, and the Sixth Amendment’s right to a speedy trial.
“There are many people in our country, particularly minorities, they’re not getting treated fairly, they’re not getting due process and they’re not getting a speedy trial,” said Paul. “I think if we showed equal deference and love for the Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment, and the Fourth Amendment right to privacy, all of a sudden, there’s a whole new group of people, young kids, college kids, African Americans, that are going to come and say, you know what? That’s the party I want to belong to.”
Paul has made civil liberties and criminal justice reform key planks to his platform and has sponsored several pieces of legislation that would enact sentencing reforms, add protections for juvenile offenders, and other measures that have been praised by criminal justice reform advocates on both sides of the aisle.
Paul’s stances on these issues have been a large part of his efforts to reach out to young and minority voters, constituencies that in 2008 and 2012 heavily favored the Democrats.
In his announcement speech Tuesday, Paul said he hoped to see “an America where criminal justice is applied equally and any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed.” After the speech, Paul campaign spokeswoman Eleanor May clarified that he was speaking about nonviolent crimes, according to a report by Byron York at the Washington Examiner.
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