Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said Wednesday that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s lawsuit against President Obama and the National Security Administration is just part of his 2016 strategy.
“Obviously the strategy is to appeal to the base. Rand Paul obviously thinks he has a leg up now with [New Jersey] Gov. [Chris] Christie’s problems,” the former Democratic governor said on MSNBC. “He wants to show the base he’s a fighter, that’s what suing the president is all about.”
While that strategy may win supporters in the Republican base, that together with his recent comments about the Clintons may alienate him from the larger body of likely voters, he said.
“It makes him look like a petty politician,” he said.
Alan Dershowitz, a professor at Harvard Law School, agreed the lawsuit is a political stunt and that even the 300,000 signatures of people who support the lawsuit don’t make it legitimate.
“This is more of a political action than an action that has a chance of succeeding on its own merit,” he said Wednesday on CNN.
The broad scope of the lawsuit misses the nuances in the case since the collection of metadata or other phone records may be constitutional in some cases, but unconstitutional in others. Still, the issue does have some legal merit, he said.
“It’s a serious legal issue,” he said. “But this is the wrong lawsuit by the wrong people.”
Mr. Dershowitz said a single person whose phone has been tapped who can prove he or she has no connection to terrorism would have a better shot in bringing a specific lawsuit and forcing a court to resolve the issue.
“The more people involved, the more general the lawsuit, the more excuses the court can find not to resolve it,” he said.