WASHINGTON – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has taken to the floor of the U.S. Senate during a debate on a plan to block transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States for trial to fight a standard for the “crazy b—–ds’ set by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
“I want to make formal objection to the ‘crazy b—–d’ standard,” Paul said. “I don’t really think that if we are going to have a crazy b—–d’ standard that we shouldn’t have a right to a trial by jury.
“Because if we’re going to lock up all the crazy b—–ds for goodness sake, would you not want, if you’re a crazy b—–d, to have a right to trial by jury?” he said.
Graham had been referring last night to the Guantanamo Bay prisoners as “crazy b—–ds” in an amendment debate on whether or not to transfer Guantanamo prisoners to the U.S. for trial.
According to Politico, Graham said, “Simply stated, the American people don’t want to close Guantanamo Bay, which is an isolated, military-controlled facility, to bring these crazy b—–ds that want to kill us all of the United States.”
Paul took the position of placing Guantanamo prisoners on trial in the United States to uphold the principles of the Constitution. He objected to Graham’s characterization.
He said the issue is bigger than an individual terrorist.
“No terrorist can conquer us if we remain steadfast to the principles of our founders,” he said.
The debate then moved onto whether or not to amend the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens.
Graham criticized some GOP members who have expressed concern Barack Obama will abuse the language in the NDAA to indefinitely detain Americans and override their constitutional rights.
“There are people on my side, who are afraid of law of war detention being in Barack Obama’s hand, because they think they hate him so much, they think he is going to use a provision to protect us against an al-Qaida attack to put them in jail because they disagree with his agenda,” Graham said.
He defended Obama, saying, “This president has not rounded up one person and put them in jail using the statutes that exist today because they disagree with him and I don’t believe he will.”
Despite Graham’s trust, both Democrats and Republicans lined up amend the NDAA. A plan by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to amend the NDAA, supporters say, would prohibit detentions of both citizens and green card holders.
Critics say the door still would remain open for inappropriate detentions.
But Feinstein already has received pledged support from Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Chris Coons, D-Del.; Kirsten Gillibrand. D-New York; Dean Heller, R-Nevada; Mark Kirk, R-Ill.; Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; John Tester, D-Mont.; and Mark Udall, D-Colo.
Paul then went into a crescendo:
“This [the right to habeas corpus] is an ancient right that we have defended for 800 years… it is the beginning of due process, if you don’t have a right to trial by jury, you don’t have due process, you do not have a constitution. What are you fighting against and if you throw the Constitution out, if you throw the 6th 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 … the trial by jury has been a longstanding and ancient and noble right. For goodness sakes, let’s not scrap it now.”
The Senate vote was 54-41 to block the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo to the United States and 67-29 to approve Feinstein’s amendment to amend the NDAA.
The proposals still need to be signed by the president.