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Seven and Counting. Two More Cities Reject NDAA

In recent days, resistance to federal kidnapping powers in the 2012 NDAA (specifically sections 1021 and 1022 of the Act) has been catching on like wildfire. Virginia’s House of Delegates this week passed a bill to refuse compliance with the Act by a whopping vote of 96-4. Other states are considering similar laws and resolutions as well. And, sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center tell us to expect a minimum of ten other states doing the same in the short term.

But it’s not just states that are taking action against what some are calling the new “intolerable acts.” Local communities are standing up to say NO as well. Towns, cities and counties around the country are being presented with model legislation that they can use to consider a resolution or a binding ordinance and in quick time – a number has already voiced their approval of such action.

The most recent? The town of Macomb, NY and Northampton, MA overwhelmingly approved resolutions opposing the NDAA. The resolutions hold a similar tone with language such as the following:

“the indefinite military detention of any person without trial violates the 5th and 6th amendments of the Constitution of the United States, Article III of the Constitution of the United States, and the Posse Comitatus Act”

Macomb Councilman Steve Burke included an impassioned plea for support as a preamble to the 8-page resolution which passed there. He wrote – “In the words of Benjamin Franklin “those that seek to trade the blessings of liberty for security deserve neither;” Each council member has before them a resolution. I ask for your support on this resolution.”

Northampton took the idea of a resolution denouncing the act a step further by requiring local noncompliance. From the resolution, the city states that they will

“Instruct all our public agencies to decline requests by federal agencies acting under detention powers granted by the NDAA that could infringe upon residents’ freedom of speech, religion, assembly, privacy, or rights to counsel.”

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NDAA Nullification Bill Passes Arizona Senate Committee 6-1

By a vote of 6-1 (with 1 abstaining) the Arizona Senate’s Border Security, Federalism and States Sovereignty Committee approved Senate Bill 1182 (SB1182), bringing it one step away from a full Senate vote.

SB1182, if signed into law, “Prohibits this state and agencies of this state from participating in the implementation of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. Classifies the act of attempting to enforce or enforcing these sections as a class 1 misdemeanor.”

A modified version of the Liberty Preservation Act released by the Tenth Amendment Center this month, Arizona joins a growing choir of states and localities who’ve decided that waiting for federal politicians to repeal their own power is something they’re not willing to risk.

The bill was introduced by Senator Sylvia Allen, originally on 01-19-12 on a different subject. But, through a process in Arizona known as a “strike everything amendment” she was able to insert the Liberty Preservation Act language into the bill in time for the committee hearing today. According to the Arizona Legislature,

A “strike everything after the enacting clause” amendment (also referred to as a “strike everything” amendment or simply a “striker”) proposes to delete the entire text of the existing bill and substitute new language, essentially making it a completely different bill, possibly on an entirely different subject. These amendments are sometimes used to allow legislators to circumvent the deadlines on introduction of new legislation, deal with an issue that arises after the deadline or revive a bill that has previously been defeated.

A strike everything amendment was also submitted for Senate Concurrent Resolution 1011 (SCR1011), which includes the following position amongst a long denouncement of the federal act signed into law by Barack Obama on 12-31-11:

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Will Missouri Nullify Obamacare?

House Bill No. 1534: Declares the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as Unconstitutional

Website: http://www.house.mo.gov/billsummary.aspx?year=2012&bill=HB%201534

The limitation of the national government’s power is affirmed under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people of the several states to the federal government, and all power not delegated to the federal government in the Constitution of the United States is reserved to the states respectively, or to the people themselves; Whenever the national government assumes powers that the people did not grant it in the Constitution, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force; The several states composing the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their national government… Although the several states have granted supremacy to laws and treaties made pursuant to the powers granted in the Constitution, such supremacy does not apply to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, because that act exceeds the powers granted to the national government;” – text from HB1534 

Since President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, many Constitutionalists agree that the Federal law exceeds the power granted to Congress under the United States Constitution. Because of this, many state leaders around our nation are stepping forward to protect our individual freedom to choose – and voicing a need for the proper exercising of tenth amendment and state nullification actions.

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Five and Counting: New Shoreham RI Rejects NDAA

            Less than one month ago I petitioned the New Shoreham (Block Island), Rhode Island, Town Council to pass a resolution in opposition to section 1021 of the NDAA. In 2003 the Council passed a resolution in opposition to the Patriot Act, so I knew they would give my petition a fair shake.

            Thankfully, the Town Council righteously passed the resolution tonight; which demonstrates the great utility in local governments to fight unconstitutional Federal acts. State legislative bureaucratic morass slows the passage of legislation. Citizen disconnect mitigates individual legislator’s accountability for failure to act. Conversely, local governments move fast and the limited number of council members eliminates plausible deniability for failure to act. Local leaders live in the communities they represent, and are held to account for their action, or inaction, daily.

            Included in my petition to the Council were two great resources available to all citizens: 1) the model resolution drafted by us here at the Rhode Island Liberty Coalition and our friends at the Tenth Amendment Center and 2) the model letter to local governing bodies. I also published a copy of the model letter in the local New Shoreham paper which brought out concerned community members and publically put the onus on the Council.

            The beauty of the resolution is that it comprehensively lays forth exactly how the NDAA offends our fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. It educates and sets the table for a productive meeting. The model letter is a great resource because it answers the question that many local governing bodies have; why should local bodies act and not just leave it to the state legislatures or Congress? The compelling answer is that local councils have taken an oath to uphold the constitution, they have the ability to respond to unconstitutional acts, and thus, they must.

            At the first Town Council meeting last week, the counselors were well informed and asked all the right questions. They pointed to the provision of section 1021 that seeks to preserve existing law and authorities relating to the detention of U.S. citizens and legal aliens, and asked; does this not protect individual rights? I responded that the laws and authorities are not clear, and importantly, the office of President, under both Bush and Obama, has professed the authority indefinitely detain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants under the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force. I pointed to the Padilla case, where the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the President may indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen as an enemy combatant. Padilla had been held in military detention for 3.5 years with no trial. Thereafter, the Supreme Court refused to consider the appeal after Padilla was transferred to civilian jurisdiction, invoking a sharp rebuke from three Supreme Court justices. 

            In my opinion, the Supreme Court was derelict in its duty to consider the issue and perpetuated the grey area of authorities NDAA section 1021 seeks to preserve. I argued that there should never be any vagueness or grey area concerning the fundamental rights the NDAA purports to eviscerate.  Moreover, the jurisdictional game the Office of President played with Padilla undermines its credibility in dealing with purported enemy combatants. Under the Padilla precedent, the President can simply hold another U.S. citizen for 3.5 years and then transfer him to civilian jurisdiction in order to avoid Supreme Court review and establishment of concrete authority concerning the President’s powers under the 2001 AUMF and the NDAA.

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