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Of filibusters, drones, extrajudicial powers, Holder and Paul

by AirTalk®

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U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is seen on a TV monitor as he participates in a filibuster on the Senate floor March 6, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Along with opposing the nomination of John Brennan to be the next director of CIA, Paul spoke at length about drones. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senator Rand Paul - a Republican with strong Libertarian leanings - led a nearly 13-hour filibuster in the U.S. Senate yesterday. He began during proceedings to confirm John Brennan as CIA Director, but Paul's protest had a different target. Myriad times during the hours-long filibuster he asked President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to address extrajudicial killings of American citizens.

Paul cited the death of the American-born son of Anwar Al-Awlaki. Both were men, U.S. citizens , were killed in separate drone strikes in 2011. Lawmakers have been dealing with the controversial issues of domestic drones, targeted killings and presidential powers. However, the politics are unpredictable. Some of Paul's fellow Republicans helped keep the bluster going during the filibuster, but voters are more accustomed to Democrats keeping a check on civil liberty issues.

What was Paul protesting yesterday? When can the U.S. target alleged American terrorists overseas? When can the U.S. use drones in American territory? Was the filibuster effective?

Stephen Vladeck , Professor of Law; Associate Dean for Scholarship at American University Washington College of Law; he was part of the legal team that successfully challenged the Bush Administration's use of military tribunals at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006); last week, Vladeck testified before the House Committee on the Judiciary on the subject of presidential powers and drones.

John Bellinger, partner at Arnold & Porter in Washington DC.   He served as the Legal Adviser for the National Security Council and for the Department of State [under Condoleezza Rice] during the Bush Administration; last week, Bellinger testified before the House Committee on the Judiciary on the subject of presidential powers and drones.

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