U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R., KY.) has asked Gov. Bob McDonnell to sign Delegate Bob Marshall’s bill barring Virginia government agencies and employees from aiding in unlimited federal detention of United States citizens without criminal charges or court hearings. (original signed letter here)
Dear Governor McDonnell:
The Father of the Constitution and the architect of the Bill of Rights, Virginia’s own James Madison, would be proud of Virginia’s General Assembly for passing HB1160. This bill defends Virginians constitutional rights by prohibiting any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting in the arrest and detention of American citizens indefinitely, without charges, without legal counsel, and without a trial.
The legislation HB1160 addresses – the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA) – greatly expands the power and scope of the federal government to fight the War on Terror by codifying into law the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects without trial. Under the NDAA, the President and the military are given the power to carry out domestic anti-terrorism operations on US soil and to detain even US citizens without trial.
Of particular concern is Section 1021, which authorizes the President to use “all necessary and appropriate force,” which “includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons … pending disposition under the law of war.”
I find this to be especially worrisome given that we are engaged in a war that seems to have no end. The rights we give up now may never be restored. The NDAA attempts to repeal fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution, and flies in the face of bedrock principles of liberty that pre-date even the Magna Carta.
As Justice Scalia declared in Hamdi v Rumsfeld, “the very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive.”
Justice Scalia also declared in that same dissent that, “where the Government accuses a citizen of waging war against it, our constitutional tradition has been to prosecute him in federal court for treason or some other crime.”
Virginia is one among many other States taking action against the NDAA’s unconstitutional provisions. Many of my own constituents and others across America have informed me that they applaud the Virginia General Assembly for taking the lead in passing this important legislation.
It is my sincere hope that you will join me and other freedom-loving Americans in support of HB 1160 by signing it into law.
Rand Paul, M.D.
United States Senator