Rand Paul tripped up by Civil Rights Act once again


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) spoke this morning at Howard University, a traditionally black school in Washington, D.C., and returned to a subject that has caused him great difficulties in the past.

The Republican senator told his Howard audience, “I’ve never wavered in my support for civil rights or the Civil Rights Act.” He added, “I’ve never been against the Civil Rights Act, ever.”

I’m afraid Rand Paul is lying, and the evidence is incontrovertible.

As a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2010, Paul told the Louisville Courier-Journal he opposed the Civil Rights Act’s ban on discrimination on the basis of race in “places of public accommodation” such as privately owned businesses that are open to the public. He said the same thing on NPR.

When Paul appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Rachel asked, as part of a discussion of the Civil Rights Act, “Do you think that a private business has the right to say we don’t serve black people?” Paul replied, “Yes.”

It was consistent with his approach to federal civil rights law dating back to at least 2002.

Now, in fairness, I should note that Paul, as a candidate in 2010, eventually reversed course and said the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was necessary and he would have voted for it.

But notice again what he said at Howard: he’s “never wavered” in his support for the Civil Rights Act and he’s “never been against the Civil Rights Act, ever.”

There is simply no way in which this is true.