Privacy Concerns Alleviated, Rand Paul Says He Will Back Kavanaugh

‘Judge Kavanaugh will be more open to a Fourth Amendment that protects digital records and property…’


Rand Paul/Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC)

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, resolved to support Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, following conversations that satisfied the senator’s concerns with the judge’s views on the Fourth Amendment and privacy.

“In reviewing his record on other privacy cases like Jones, and through my conversation with him, I have hope that in light of the new precedent in Carpenter v. United States, Judge Kavanaugh will be more open to a Fourth Amendment that protects digital records and property,” Paul said in a press release.

In Carpenter, the court decided that the government listening to a private phone call constituted a “search.”

While the case issued a narrow opinion that did not condemn all metadata collection programs, it expanded Fourth Amendment protections to include digital media.


Paul described his position on Kavanaugh as “honestly undecided” in a Politico article last Monday.

His major concern was with a 2015 decision in which Kavanaugh sided with the government’s warrantless metadata collection program, Reason reported.

“In my view, the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment,” Kavanaugh wrote.

He gave an interpretation of the Fourth Amendment that was too narrow for Paul’s libertarian views.

The Fourth Amendment “bars only unreasonable searches and seizures,” Kavanaugh wrote. “And the Government’s metadata collection program readily counts as reasonable” as it “serves a critically important special need—preventing terrorist attacks on the United States.”

Paul says the federal government cannot choose security over privacy, but Kavanaugh decided the opposite.

“That critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program,” Kavanaugh concluded in the opinion.

Paul said the nominee’s stance on the Constitution will lead him to make good decisions on privacy.

But he added that his vote is not about the Fourth Amendment alone.

“My conversation with Judge Kavanaugh reinforces my belief that he will evaluate cases before the Supreme Court from a textual and originalist point of view,” Paul wrote. “I believe he will carefully adhere to the Constitution and will take his job to protect individual liberty seriously.”