US Sen. Rand Paul filed a lawsuit Wednesday against President Barack Obama and others over the National Security Agency's sweeping surveillance programs, citing constitutional violations.
“The Bill of Rights protects all citizens from general warrants," the Republican from Kentucky said when he announced the litigation. "I expect this case to go all the way to the Supreme Court and I predict the American people will win.”
Paul filed the lawsuit with Matt Kibbe, president of the tea party-aligned group FreedomWorks.
Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will serve as lead counsel.
Besides Obama, the lawsuit also named National Intelligence Director James Clapper, outgoing NSA Director Keith Alexander and FBI Director James Comey.
Other lawsuits over the NSA's phone surveillance practices have been filed in recent months, but Paul's legal challenge is different because it's a class-action suit.
“A class action would be Rand Paul, not just suing on his own behalf, but on behalf all people, known and unknown, who are similarly situated,” Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University, told MSNBC. “Ostensibly, he could be suing on behalf of all Americans, or all Americans hypothetically affected by these court orders.”
Earlier this month, Paul said he believed every American with a cellphone would be eligible to join the class-action suit.
The son of three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul, Rand Paul has long been an ardent critic of US surveillance programs, which he says infringe on the basic civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution.
In a YouTube video released this week, Paul compared the NSA phone surveillance to the warrantless searches practiced by the British military prior to America's independence.
Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...
A must-watch mash-up of Sochi ills from DJ Steve Porter.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
On Monday, a former high-ranking state treasurer employee filed a federal lawsuit leveling sexual harassment allegations against Dan Rutherford, who is currently involved in a four-way race in the GOP primary for Illinois governor. The Chicago Sun Times reports:
The former employee, Ed Michalowski [far right], accused Rutherford of making unwanted sexual advances against him, starting in 2011 and also alleged that Rutherford’s chief of staff did nothing when the incidents were reported.
Michalowski, 43, served as Rutherford’s director of community affairs and marketing. He resigned last week, telling the Sun-Times he felt intimidated by a news conference Rutherford held promising to combat the allegations while flanked by former federal agents.
Among Michalowski claims is that in 2011 Rutherford held an overnight office retreat at Rutherford’s Chenoa home, entered Michalowski’s bedroom and grabbed his genitals.
Following news of the lawsuit, Rutherford held another press conference denying the allegations, which you can watch AFTER THE JUMP…
Rutherford has seen his poll numbers slip since the allegations surfaced.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who last week launched a personal campaign to the governors in every state to pass a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, is making the media rounds to help spread word about his crusade.
Right Wing Watch reports that Moore, who believes that marriage equality is a Satanic influence that will lead to “oppressive” government and divine punishment, told wingnut rag WorldNetDaily yesterday that the legalization of same-sex marriage threatens the Constitution:
“It’s a travesty,” Judge Roy Moore told WND on Monday about the move toward judiciary-imposed same-sex “marriages.” “The courts are exercising wrongful authority over this country.”
He said it was no less than the U.S. Supreme Court itself which, in an earlier ruling, said, “We come nearest to illegitimacy when we deal with judge-made constitutional law with no cognizable roots in the design of the Constitution.” [...]
“If marriage falls,” he said, “the institution of family upon which it is based falls.”
Then, he said, “We no longer have a Constitution. We have a government of individual men who have the power to decide what the Constitution means … .”
Last week, Moore used a speech to the Alabama Cattlemen's Association to rally support for his campaign. Check out a local news report of the story, AFTER THE JUMP...
Late last week, Neil Patrick Harris was honored by Harvard's Hasty Pudding Club as its 2014 Man of the Year.
Hasty Pudding Club is the nation's oldest undergrad drama club and presents this award annually though this is the first time it has gone to an openly gay man. Honorees are generally made to do ridiculous things in a ceremony filled with drag and high-minded debauchery.
The group persuaded Helen Mirren to twerk publicly late last month as it honored her with Woman of the Year.
The group has just put out a hilarious highlight video of the event in which NPH motorboats a drag queen and spoons baby food to a baby-faced male student.
Check it out as well as a post-event press conference, AFTER THE JUMP...
And congrats to NPH on this well-deserved honor!
A federal judge in Kentucky has struck down Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that the state must recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere. Heyburn did not say that Kentucky must allow same-sex marriages, however, the Courier-Journal reports:
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II joined nine other federal and state courts in invalidating such bans.
Ruling in a suit brought by four gay and lesbian couples, Heyburn said that while “religious beliefs ... are vital to the fabric of society ... assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.” ...
...Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling throwing out the Defense of Marriage Act, Heyburn struck down the portion of Kentucky’s 2004 constitutional amendment that said “only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky.”
Heyburn did not rule that Kentucky must allow gay marriages to be performed in the state.
In a 23-page ruling, Heyburn said Kentucky’s sole justification for the the amendment was that was it was “rationally related to the legitimate government interest of preserving the state’s institution of traditional marriage.”
More at the Courier-Journal...