Delegate’s Letter Cites Pressing Need to Preserve American Citizens’ Constitutional Rights

Delegate Bob Marshall is urging legislative leaders across the United States to enact bills similar to the new Virginia law refusing cooperation with federal authorities in arresting and indefinitely detaining American citizens on the slightest suspicion of aiding terrorists.

“April 18, 2012, was a banner day for liberty and federalism in the Old Dominion!” Marshall wrote in a letter to the presiding officers of all the state legislatures.

That was the day the Virginia General Assembly passed Marshall’s House Bill 1160 barring Virginia government agencies and public employees from assisting federal authorities from seizing and holding American citizens indefinitely without probable cause, the right to know the charges against them, and procedural rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. HB 1160 has been signed into law by Gov. Bob McDonnell and goes into effect on July 1.

U.S. military and federal law enforcement agencies are authorized to make such arrests under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 31.

“If Congress and the President must suspend a citizen’s civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution’s Bill of Rights to fight the war on terrorism, then we have lost that war, having lost the very purpose for which the war is being fought – to preserve the American constitutional republic,” Marshall wrote in a letter Thursday (April 26) to the legislative leaders.

“Let Congress and the President hear from the States as we join together, so that we soon may see the day that they repeal this terrible law [NDAA].”

Marshall noted that his HB 1160 passed the Virginia House of Delegates by a vote of 87-7 and the Virginia Senate, 36-1, becoming the first state to approve such legislation.

NDAA “literally turns the entire country into a military battlefield, conferring extraordinary powers on the U.S. Armed Forces against its own citizens,” Marshall wrote, noting, “Not since the American Civil War has there been such a claim of power over the nation’s citizenry.”

“Thank God,” Marshall wrote, “we live under a Constitution of competing independent and sovereign states, not a monolithic centralized power in Washington, D.C.”

Marshall’s letter indicated that, after he introduced HB 1160 in the General Assembly, “the bill took flight – picking up support from both sides of the aisle, and generating momentum from strong grassroots support from the people in every corner of the Commonwealth.”

“I was particularly heartened,” Marshall wrote, “by support from the Japanese American Citizens League, which reminded the Virginia General Assembly that illegal detentions cold occur in the future, because they have in the past – with President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 and the roundup of 110,000 Japanese Americans into concentration camps because they were classified as ‘suspected enemy aliens.’

“I hope our effort will be a motivation, and perhaps even a model for other state legislatures that they, too, would take a stand in resisting federal overreach,”


NOTE: Delegate Marshall’s letter to legislative leaders is here.