Paul and his staff responded with their tell-tale snideness and ignorance. His chief of staff asserted Christie didn’t know what esoteric means. Even worse, Paul again displayed his lack of understanding of the Fourth Amendment in a tweet: “Christie worries about the dangers of freedom. I worry about the danger of losing that freedom. Spying without warrants is unconstitutional.” Wrong! Maybe Christie can explain to Paul that overseas terrorists don’t get Fourth Amendment protection and that metadata isn’t covered by the Fourth Amendment, along with other basics of constitutional law.
Paul’s ignorance was on display in another context this week in a letter to FBI director Robert Mueller concerning drone use. Paul wrote in response to a letter from Mueller explaining that the FBI uses drones for anti-terror work, but only when there is “reasonable expectation of privacy” does it get a search warrant.
As most first-year law students find out, a “reasonable expectation of privacy” is the trigger for the Fourth Amendment and has been litigated for decades, with a defined body of casework. Paul seems not to comprehend this and goes on at length demanding to know “the Bureau’s definition of when an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy.” If Mueller has a sense of humor, he’ll send directions to the nearest law library.
Getting back to Christie, he raises a serious and critical point: Fitness to serve as commander in chief requires many things, but good judgment, a full understanding of the threats we face and an accurate understanding of the Constitution are essential. It is also telling that Christie, in this back-and-forth, suggests that if he runs in 2016, he will use his experience in federal law enforcement. He should; Americans want a commander in chief who is going to look out for them and who knows what he is doing.