LANSING, Mich. (June 18, 2012) – Last week, Michigan joined the swelling ranks of states considering legislation that would effectively block any state cooperation with federal officials seeking to detain Americans under provisions in sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act.
On June 14, Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) introduced HB5768. The legislation would prohibit any state agent, state employee or member of the Michigan National Guard from assisting “an agency of the armed forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of any person pursuant to 50 USC 1541, as provided by the federal national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2012, Public Law 112-81, if such aid would place that state agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the Michigan national guard in violation of the United States constitution, the state constitution of 1963, or any law of this state.”
Five cosponsors signed on to the bill, including two Democrats and a 10-year Air Force veteran.
“Once again we see the bipartisan nature of the pushback against federal kidnapping,” Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey said. “This is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. This is an American issue.”
In the 1840s and 1850s, northern states effectively used a similar strategy to block implementation of the Fugitive Slave Acts. The federal law denied due process to blacks accused of running away from slavery. A slave-owner could haul a man or woman back south simply on the authority of his own testimony. A black person was not even allowed to testify in her own defense. Northern states passed personal liberty laws, in some cases refusing state cooperation, denying the use of state resources to slave commissioners and forbidding state officers to participate in the process. Other state laws guaranteed any person charged as a fugitive slave a jury trial.Details