On Tuesday, March 20, 2012, the Tenth Amendment Center, in partnership with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Demand Progress, held a joint media conference to brief journalists about national momentum against NDAA detention powers. The following is what was introduced by Blake Filippi at the start of that conference

NOTE: Blake Filippi will be a featured speaker at Nullify Now! Philadelphia. Get tickets here – http://www.nullifynow.com/philadelphia/ – or by calling 888-71-TICKETS


My name is Blake Filippi, director of the Rhode Island Liberty Coalition and spokesman for the Tenth Amendment Center.

In 1850, when Congress passed what was known as the “Fugitive Slave Act,” the federal law compelled people of all states to assist federal agents with the apprehension of suspected runaway slaves and brought all trials involving alleged fugitive slaves under federal jurisdiction. It included large fines for anyone who aided a slave in their escape, even by simply giving them food or shelter. The act also suspended habeas corpus and the right to a trial by jury for suspected slaves, and made their testimony non-admissible in court.

This was an atrocity.

But the people of the states didn’t just stand there and take it. In the ensuing years, states all over the North began passing what were known as “Personal Liberty Laws” – rejecting such claims of federal power and reasserting the state’s role in protecting the rights of people. Massachusetts went so far as to consider such federal acts to be the crime of kidnapping – and after passing their Personal Liberty Law, not one single escaped slave was returned to the South under the Fugitive Slave Act.

While that horrible part of American history is gladly long gone, due process is still under attack by the Federal Government today. And in the spirit of the heroic abolitionists in states like Wisconsin, Maine, and many others – today, we call upon states across the nation to pass the Liberty Preservation Act – to reject the so-called “indefinite detention” powers of the NDAA.

In partnership with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Demand Progress , we hope to expand this effort beyond the 10 local communities which have already passed such legislation – and the 11 states moving to consider it already – and blanket the entire country with a defense of liberty until “indefinite detention” is thrown to the dustbin of history.

thank you.

Blake Filippi

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