Rand Paul comes out against fellow Republicans in Tsarnaev case

In an interview with Fox Business on Monday evening, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) came out against Republicans who had called for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be held as an "enemy combatant."

"I think we can still preserve the Bill of Rights," Paul told Neil Cavuto. "I see no reason why our Constitution isn’t strong enough to convict this young man, with a jury trial, with The Bill of Rights. We do it to horrible people all the time. Rapists and murders - they get lawyers, they get trials with juries and we seem to do a pretty good job of justice, so I think we can do it through our court system.”

Tsarnaev has been charged in federal court with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property counts, but Republicans have continued to argue that he should have been detained first and pressed for information.

The senator said that wounded soldiers would be offended if we discarded the freedoms they fought to preserve.

"I think they're disheartened to think we're just going to tell people 'Oh, no jury trial anymore,' so I think it is something worth standing up for," he said. "I think of them fighting to defend the right to trial by jury."

That position pits Paul once again against Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), both of whom called for the "enemy combatant" designation and who were against the libertarian-leaning Paul's filibuster on drones.

Speaking of drones, Paul did go on to say that he was fine with the use of drones in finding or fighting a criminal on the loose.

“Here’s the distinction, I have never argued against any technology being used against having an imminent threat or an act of crime going on," he said. "If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him."

What he objects to, he said, is constant surveillance in the absence of any evidence of criminal activity. "But it’s different if they want to come fly over your hot tub, or your yard just because they want to do surveillance on everyone, and they want to watch your activities."

He added, "If there is a killer on the loose in a neighborhood, I’m not against drones being used to search them out."

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a supporter of Paul's father in the 2012 presidential election, has also objected to the use of the "enemy combatant" label.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Politics
Next Story
Juliet Eilperin · April 23, 2013