News Column

Rand Paul Ends 13-hour Self-described Filibuster

March 7, 2013

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., ended a nearly 13-hour filibuster early Thursday that had stalled Senate confirmation of John Brennan as CIA director.

Paul, who opposes Brennan's nomination, led a bloc of conservatives in the filibuster over the Obama administration's use of lethal drone strikes.

He began speaking at 11:47 a.m. Wednesday and finally yielded the floor at about 12:39 a.m. Thursday, Politico reported.

He stayed inside the Senate chamber as he spoke, remaining on his feet for the entire time.

"I would try to go another 12 hours and try to break Strom Thurmond's record, but there are some limits to filibustering and I am going to have to go take care of one of those here," Paul said.

Thurmond, from South Carolina, a States' Rights Democrat at the time, filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1957 for 24 hours, 18 minutes.

Paul ended his filibuster with, "I thank you very much for the forbearance and I yield the floor." He received loud applause.

Soon after, Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., introduced a motion to end debate on the nomination of John Brennan to run the CIA.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said earlier a vote to end debate on Brennan's nomination or to approve him as CIA director would happen Thursday.

Paul started his self-described filibuster after receiving a letter Monday from Attorney General Eric Holder that refused to rule out the use of drone strikes against Americans within the United States in "extraordinary circumstances" such as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Paul's solo effort turned into a multi-senator debate that included a Democrat, Ron Wyden of Oregon, and about seven Republicans questioning the constitutionality of drone strikes against U.S. citizens at home or abroad, USA Today said.

"No American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found guilty of a crime by a court," Paul said. "How can you kill someone without going to a judge, or a jury?"

Source: Copyright United Press International 2013

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