State Opposition To Indefinite Detention Calls For Backup
President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, or otherwise known as NDAA, on January 2, 2013, weeks before his second inauguration. On the face it may look like an ordinary Department of Defense budget or spending bill, but it has some troubling hindrances to liberty, as did the NDAA for fiscal year 2012.
The 2012 NDAA authorized $662 billion in funding for the defense of the United States and its foreign interests. Included, were national security programs for counter-terrorism abroad and in the U.S., new economic sanctions against Iran, and also to increase pay and healthcare costs for our military service members. All fine, perhaps, except for sub-sections 1021 and 1022 ,or “Counter-Terrorism” called for “indefinite detention for persons the government suspects of involvement with terrorism,” which opened the door for potential Presidential powers of abuse. Although Americans were assured by White House staff the President would never abuse these powers, the legal language in the bill could be interpreted differently. Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Bill of Rights Defense Committee have criticized NDAA.
The $650 billion NDAA for fiscal year 2013, includes buildup of the military, with an additional amendment to require contractors to disclose cyber-intrusion and software testing, and the indefinite detention clause remains.
The 2013 NDAA Act included a new section 1029, which affirmed the writ of habeas corpus, which protects against unlawful detention and is core to individual freedom against a fascist, or over-zealous government authority. Due process is a constitutional right for all American citizens and those visiting here legally, but what may be misleading about section 1029, also known as the Gohmert Amendment, is the deceptive language. Section 1029 reads:
Nothing in the Authorization for Use of Military Force or the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 shall be construed to deny the availability of the writ of habeas corpus or to deny any Constitutional rights in a court ordained or established by or under Article III of the Constitution for any person who is lawfully in the United States when detained pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force and who is otherwise entitled to the availability of such writ or such rights.
Freedom Outpost reports Dan Johnson, People Against NDAA, or PANDA, concludes there is nothing in the language that guarantees a detained person a trial:
The Gohmert Amendment only says that if you get a trial in an Article III court that you won’t be denied your constitutional rights in that court, but there’s no guarantee that you get any trial, let alone one in an Article III court. This language is deceptive in that it implies Congress can pick and choose who gets Constitutional Rights. It also does not recognize or protect the Constitutional Rights of U.S. citizens travelling abroad.
On December 21, 2012, the Senate passed NDDA for fiscal year 2013, and what is also known as the Indefinite Detention Bill, with a vote of 81-14. Liberty supporters might want to keep note of which senators voted for and against the bill.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) called the bill an abomination and urged other senators to vote against it. In November, a bipartisan group of senators headed by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and supported by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) added an amendment to NDAA to prevent unlawful detention of American citizens on U.S. soil. Dubbed the “Feinstein Amendment,” it was later stripped away by an NDAA conference committee, led by none other than Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
Although, oddly enough, Feinstein was one who voted for the NDAA bill minus her own amendment. Paul said, before the Senate vote, that without the Feinstein Amendment the bill lacked the necessary protections.
We passed an amendment that specifically said if you were an American citizen or here legally in the country, you would get a trial by jury. It’s been removed because they want the ability to hold American citizens without trial in our country. This is so fundamentally wrong and goes against everything we stand for as a country that it can’t go unnoticed.
There is hope for America to stop indefinite detention as more states, whether red or blue, are joining in to nullify NDAA. Virginia was the first state to nullify NDAA which became effective July 1, 2012. Other states that passed nullification are Arizona, Utah, and Maine. As recently as March 23, 2013, Michigan passed their NDAA Nullification Bill. Other states, such as Indiana and South Carolina passed NDAA Nullification in the Senate, but both bills have to go to their House for a vote.
The Tenth Amendment Center is calling for help and support for California Assembly Bill 351 which would nullify “indefinite detention” under NDAA 2012 and 2013 in the State of California. AB351 has been assigned to the Public Safety Committee and will be holding a hearing and vote on April 9, 2013. Californians can take the following 7 easy steps to stop indefinite detention and support the passage of AB351.
For an update on states working on stopping indefinite detention, as well as counties and cities across the nation passing NDAA Nullification, visit the Tenth Amendment Center NDAA Nullification tracking map.by