WASHINGTON, D.C. – This evening, the U.S. Senate voted on Amendment No. 3018 to the National Defense Authorization Act sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), and co-sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, which protects the rights prescribed to Americans in the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution with regard to indefinite detention and the right to a trial by jury.
Moments before the vote, Sen. Paul took to the Senate floor to again voice his support for the amendment and inspire his colleagues to do the same. Below is video and transcript of his floor speech.
I want to congratulate my colleagues on — even though they appear to sometimes have disdain to the trial by jury, to now appear to be supporting the right to trial by jury. And I congratulate them on their conversion. I think they’re still a little bit confused on Hamdi.
Hamdi had to do with the citizen fighting overseas and nothing to do with the citizen here. I have great confidence that the Supreme Court, given a ruling on the right to trial by jury, will affirm the right to trial by jury whether they were appointed by Ronald Reagan or President Obama. So we’ll have that fight on another day. I will say, though, that our oath of office says that we will defend the Constitution against enemies, foreign and domestic.
I met with cadets this week and they asked me about, ‘what is the freedom we fight for?’ The freedom we fight for is the Bill of Rights, it is the Constitution. If we have careless disregard for the Constitution, what are we fighting for?
I will tell you since I know this record of this debate will be widely read, that I want to make former objection to the crazy bastards standard. I don’t really think that if we’re going to have a crazy bastard standard that we shouldn’t have a right to trial by jury, because if we’re going to lock up all the crazy bastards, for goodness sakes – would you not want if you’re a crazy bastard to have a right to trial by jury?
I think this is a very serious debate and should not be made frivolous. This is an ancient right that we have defended for 800 years, for goodness sakes. To say that habeas is due process is absurd. It’s the beginning of due process. If you don’t have a right to trial by jury, you do not have due process. You do not have a Constitution. What are you fighting against and for if you throw the Constitution out? If you throw the Sixth Amendment out? It’s in the body of our Constitution. It’s in the Bill of Rights. It’s in every constitution in the United States. For goodness sakes, the trial by jury has been a long-standing and ancient and noble right. For goodness sakes, let’s not scrap it now.
I will accept victory today. I hope we will win victory and reaffirm the right to trial by jury, but let’s don’t play any games with any aspect and really believe that any Supreme Court in the United States, whether appointed by a Republican or a Democrat, is going to say that an American citizen does not have a right to trial by jury.