After months of consideration, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is moving closer to filing a lawsuit in federal court against National Security Agency surveillance programs.
A senior Paul staffer says U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s Monday decision that NSA opponents have standing to sue over the bulk collection of phone records makes Paul “much more likely” to file his own lawsuit.
…The senior Paul staffer stressed that Paul is currently evaluating strategy options. If a lawsuit is filed, it would likely be in either D.C. or Kentucky. It’s unclear which Paul-affiliated entity would file the challenge.
“As of now the senator is in the process of finding the best lawyer to file the [possible] suit [and] is still accepting more plaintiffs for the case,” Paul spokeswoman Eleanor May said.
…The website of Paul’s political action committee, RANDPAC, currently has a pop-up advertisement that asks prospective plaintiffs to provide their name, email address and ZIP code. The ad says it seeks 10 million plaintiffs and asks for “a generous donation to help rally up to ten million Americans to support my lawsuit to stop Big Brother.”
Regardless of the legal approach selected, the senior staffer said Paul’s footwork to seek plaintiffs should help with possible standing issues, which have historically – although not in the initial Klayman case decision – derailed anti-surveillance lawsuits.
…Leon described the collection as “almost-Orwellian” and said “the government does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive.”
Paul, who has introduced legislation to ease standing issues and also to forbid indiscriminate collection of Americans’ records, applauded Leon’s decision Monday.
“I will continue to fight against the violations of Americans’ constitutional rights through illegal phone surveillance until it is stopped once and for all,” he said in a release.
It’s possible that Paul may just join on with other existing suits again the NSA, but personally, I’d like to see him file his own suit because it sets an example for other Republicans senators. The single biggest problem the Republican Party has today is a lack of spine and seeing someone like Paul, who has backbone to spare, rewarded for doing the right thing would be the best way to buck up the courage of the timid Republicans in the Senate.