On April 9th, the California Assembly Public Safety Committee voted unanimously in favor of Assembly Bill 351 (AB351), the California Liberty Preservation Act. The bill has now been assigned to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations with a hearing and vote scheduled for May 15, 2013.
Introduced by Republican Assemblymember Tim Donnelly, AB351 is a strong stand against “indefinite detention” as supposedly authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. It declares such federal power to be unconstitutional and also requires the entire state to refuse to enforce or assist its implementation. A broad coalition officially supported the legislation and moved the normally partisan, and strongly democratic, committee to support the republican-introduced legislation.
The appropriations committee is going to be an even tougher path, but an endless stream of strong, but respectful phone calls to committee members in favors is likely to give the bill a chance as passing.
ACTION ITEMS for California
1. CALL the chair of the Appropriations Committee. Thank him for scheduling a hearing on AB351, and politely encourage him to vote YES on AB351.
Mike Gatto (916) 319-2043
2. CALL all the other members of the Appropriations Committee. Strongly, but respectfully, urge each of them to vote YES on AB351. Let them know you want a vote on PRINCIPLE and not party.
Diane Harkey - (916) 319-2073
Franklin Bigelow - (916) 319-2005
Raul Bocanegra - (916) 319-2039
Steven Bradford - (916) 319-2062
Ian Calderon - (916) 319-2057
Nora Campos - (916) 319-2027
Tim Donnelly – bill sponsor
Susan Talamantes Eggman - (916) 319-2013
Jimmy Gomez - (916) 319-2051
Isadore Hall - (916) 319-2064
Chris Holden - (916) 319-2041
Eric Linder - (916) 319-2060
Richard Pan - (916) 319-2009
Bill Quirk – voted YES in Public Safety – THANK HIM. Encourage him to do the same in this committee - (916) 319-2020
Donald Wagner - (916) 319-2068
Shriely Weber - (916) 319-2079
3. Attend the Hearing.
May 15th, 9am.
Committee homepage for further info:
4. Share this information widely. Please pass this along to your friends and family. Also share it with any and all grassroots groups you’re in contact with around the state. Please encourage them to email this information to their members and supporters.
5. Join the NDAA activist group on Facebook. Connect with others, plan strategy, build a coalition, and help get AB351 passed!
6. Call your own Assembly member. Strongly, but respectfully, urge them to co-sponsor this legislation
Find your legislator here:
AB351 establishes the proper constitutional role by first citing the 10th Amendment as limiting the power of the federal government as to that which has been delegated to it and nothing more.
The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution authorizes the United States federal government to exercise only those powers specifically delegated to it in the United States Constitution.
It then declares the indefinite detention powers under NDAA to be unconstitutional:
Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA) codifies indefinite military detention without charge or trial of civilians captured far from any battlefield, violating the United States Constitution and corroding our nation’s commitment to the rule of law
Most importantly, the bill requires the entire state apparatus, including all local governments, to refuse to implement the federal act, or any other federal act (such as AUMF) that might be cited to give the same power to the federal government:
It is the policy of this state to refuse to provide material support for or to participate in any way with the implementation within this state of any federal law that purports to authorize indefinite detention of a person within California.
This would make a HUGE dent in any effort to further restrict due process – and would be a big step forward for California. It would also create shockwaves around the rest of the country. As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said recently, such widespread noncompliance can make a federal law “nearly impossible to enforce” (video here). And in those limited situations where enforcement does occur, Rosa Parks has taught us all the power of “NO!” Passage of AB351 would mark the beginning of the end of NDAA indefinite detention in California.
There is absolutely ZERO serious dispute about the fact that the federal government cannot “commandeer” the states to carry out its laws. None. Even the Supreme Court has affirmed this multiple times.
In the 1992 case, New York v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress couldn’t require states to enact specified waste disposal regulations.
In the 1997 case, Printz v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not command state law enforcement authorities to conduct background checks on prospective handgun purchasers.
In the 2012 case, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court ruled that a significant expansion of Medicaid was not a valid exercise of Congress’s spending power, as it would coerce states to either accept the expansion or risk losing existing Medicaid funding.
In each of these cases, the Supreme Court made is quite clear that their opinion is that the federal government cannot require the states to act, or even coerce them to act through a threat to lose funding. Their opinion is correct. If the feds pass a law, they can sure try to enforce it if they want. But the states absolutely do NOT have to help them in any way.
Tim Donnelly, a Republican, has authored and sponsored the bill and is working to build a strong non-partisan group of supporters to get it passed. Such attacks on due process rise above the usual party politics, and all across the country people from all ends of the political spectrum are demanding an end to “indefinite detention.” Whether it’s 99%’ers, or Tea Partiers – the ACLU or the Tenth Amendment Center – grassroots activists around the state of California know that now is the time to put aside differences and work towards a common goal. Due process for all, that is.
Note: while some believe that the 2013 NDAA eliminated indefinite detention, it does not. Dianne Feinstein introduced a very weak amendment to 2013 – and it failed anyway. 2012 indefinite detention provisions remain in tact – and the Obama administration is aggressively defending them in court.
Also, a case about indefinite detention is still being heard in federal court. Last year, Federal Judge Katherine Forrest struck down these indefinite detention powers as unconstitutional. She issued a temporary court order blocking the use of these powers. That order was revoked by the appeals court and indefinite detention powers remain while the case is currently on appeal but not decided.
Additionally, when asked by Judge Forrest if the federal government was using indefinite detention in violation of her temporary order blocking it, Barack Obama’s attorneys refused to confirm, leaving the door open that the Feds were potentially using this power in secret, even in outright defiance of an order from the federal courts.
Because of all this, and more, California stands on strong ground to reject a federal power which has already been struck down in federal court and is still pending appeal.
The California Assembly should pass AB351 with full confidence.