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Sen. Rand Paul invoked the ideals of the American Revolution Wednesday as he filed a class action lawsuit in federal court in Washington against President Barack Obama and his administration over the National Security Agency’s collection of telephone metadata records.
Paul said the suit could involve hundreds of millions of Americans -- everyone who uses a phone.
The Kentucky Republican told reporters outside the courthouse that he’ll ask the Supreme Court ultimately to determine “whether a single warrant can apply to the records of every American phone user all of the time, without limits, without individualization.”
Paul added that “We fought the American Revolution because we were unhappy about British soldiers writing generalized warrants. We wrote the Fourth Amendment to be specific to the person, to the place and to the items.”
He told reporters that “I’m not against the NSA; I’m not against spying; I’m not against looking at phone records. I just want you to go to a judge, have a person’s name, and individualize the warrant. That’s what the Fourth Amendment says.”
Lead counsel in the case is Ken Cuccinelli, the former attorney general of Virginia who lost last year’s gubernatorial election in that state. He said the goal of the suit is to order the NSA to stop its telephone data collection and to purge five years’ worth of records. “If you look at several levels of courts, this will be a several years-long process,” Cuccinelli told reporters.