Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced in a Tuesday afternoon press release from his political action committee RAND PAC that he’s following through with a promised class-action lawsuit against the National Security Agency.
Paul will file the lawsuit alleging violations of Americans' Fourth Amendment rights in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning.
It’s unclear if Paul’s lawsuit will target the NSA’s dragnet collection of phone records, its powerful Internet programs, or both.
A senior Paul staffer working on the lawsuit told U.S. News in December Paul was considering challenging both the phone and Internet programs.
Paul has recruited thousands of volunteer plaintiffs online since June, when he first announced his intention to sue in the wake of whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s leaks. It’s unclear if each volunteer will be listed as a plaintiff.
“All great questions for tomorrow,” RAND PAC staffer Sergio Gor tells U.S. News.
It’s possible the Paul lawsuit will be heard in tandem with the most successful lawsuit challenging the NSA to date, a suit filed by conservative legal activist Larry Klayman. Klayman won a preliminary injunction against the phone program Dec. 16 from U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon, who deemed the data collection an “almost Orwellian” violation of the Fourth Amendment. Leon stayed implementation of his ruling pending appeal.
Klayman told U.S. News in January that if Paul filed the suit in D.C., it would "undoubtedly be assigned to Judge Leon as a related case, so the cases will probably go in parallel in some ways." The senior Paul staffer at the time agreed that was a possible scenario.
Klayman is currently attempting to leapfrog the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and take the dispute over Leon’s preliminary injunction order directly to the U.S. Supreme Court for speedy resolution.
If the lawsuit from Klayman isn’t accepted quickly by the Supreme Court, the in tandem scenario might mean joint hearings and court rulings alongside Paul’s team. The two cases wouldn't necessarily be combined.
Paul’s Wednesday press conference will feature FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who recently lost his Republican gubernatorial bid. Cuccinelli is part of the legal team working on the lawsuit.
"I am excited to be lead counsel for Rand Paul and FreedomWorks to get the Courts to affirm the rights protected by the 4th Amendment to the Constitution,” Cuccinelli said in a statement released by RAND PAC. “We have assembled a legal team and we expect to be opposed by the vast resources of the federal government, yet I am optimistic that we will prevail, because we are seeking to protect a cornerstone of the Constitution."