PHOENIX (May 15, 2012) – Jan Brewer earned a big fat red F on Monday.

The Arizona governor failed to protect the basic due process rights of the citizens who put her in office. She failed to interpose on behalf of the people she serves and shield them from the specter of federal kidnapping. And she failed to stand up for the U.S. Constitution.

Gov. Brewer vetoed SB1182 on Monday. The bill passed by overwhelming majorities in both the Arizona House and Senate and would have prohibited state compliance with detention without due process provisions written into the National Defense Authorization Act.

In her veto letter, Brewer asserted that the law would put Arizona law enforcement officers between a rock and a hard place.

While I unequivocally support the due process rights of all United States citizens, I cannot support legislation that forces law enforcement – under the threat of criminal penalty – to choose between upholding the constitution and laws of the United States, and abiding by the laws of Arizona.

SB1182 sponsor Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) said Brewer sets up a false dichotomy.

“The governor shows more concern for a non-existent dilemma of law enforcement officers than for the Constitutional rights of Arizona citizens, which are negated and taken away by NDAA under the color of federal authority,” she said. “And she contradicts herself. She says that law enforcement would have to choose between upholding the Constitution and the laws of the United States, or upholding the laws of Arizona.  Excuse me, but SB1182 was all about upholding the Constitution. Signing SB1182 would have been an act in favor of upholding the Constitution. Vetoing it says that our law enforcement officers don’t have to uphold the Constitution – they can just go right ahead and enforce the National Defense Authorization Act, which deprives citizens of their constitutional rights.”

Tenth Amendment Center research analyst and Arizona resident Derek Sheriff said he doesn’t think Brewer really understand the constitutional Supremacy Clause.

“An unconstitutional act like the NDAA is in reality no law at all. There’s no conflict between a peace officer’s duty to support and defend the Constitution, and his refusal to participate in any way with the implementation of sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012,” he said.

And Allen points out that every state official, including state law enforcement officers and the governor, swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.

“When Congress comes along with an unconstitutional act like the NDAA that overlooks due process protections, for example, then our state elected officials should honor their oath and say,  ‘No thank you,’ to the federal government.”

James Madison asserted that” in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact (the Constitution), the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.”

Brewer failed in her duty.


If you live in Arizona, contact Gov. Brewer and express your disappointment in the veto of  SB1182 and her failure to protect the due process rights of her citizens.

You can find contact information for the governor’s office HERE.

Mike Maharrey

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