On Tuesday June 12, 2012 the Rhode Island House of Representatives passed a Resolution in opposition to the new Federal government kidnapping powers in the NDAA. As this is a House resolution, no other legislative action is required for transmission to the Federal Government, including the entire Rhode Island congressional delegation that voted for the NDAA. Currently five other states have passed laws or resolutions in response to the NDAA. Rhode Island Rep. Dan Gordan shepherded the resolution to obtain over half the House of Representatives as cosponsors, and won final passage 52-15.

The final Resolution states in pertinent part:

“The indefinite military detention of any person in the United States without charge or trial violates Article III and the 5th and 6th Amendments of the Constitution of the United States;”

The Resolution also states that the NDAA’s “authorizing the indefinite military detention of civilians captured abroad far from any battlefield violate the laws of war by which the United States is bound and which it helped to establish, and harm our Nation’s reputation for upholding the rule of law and democratic values; these civilians should be prosecuted in our federal courts if there is evidence of wrongdoing, not detained without charge or trial;”

Unfortunately, the final version of the Resolution fails to cite the provisions of the Rhode Island Constitution violated by the NDAA, as had been included in the original legislation. As a Tenther, it is unfortunate that the final Resolution excluded these key state Constitutional violations, yet it managed to cite International Law. Other state-sovereignty activists promoting anti-NDAA legislation should make note to stay abreast of developments in the legislative process so that state Constitutional protections are highlighted in any final legislation.

Of particular note is that the Resolution questions the use of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force as a tool for endless wars, and reaffirms that War Powers must remain in Congress:

“No president has the power to take the country into war, except as James Madison wrote, “to repel a sudden attack on the United States.” Congress decides whether and when to use military power. Our system of checks and balances should be restored by making sure that the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force cannot be used for endless war and endless indefinite detention without charge or trial. The Authorization for Use of Military Force should expire when United States combat operations in Afghanistan end.”

The Resolution then calls upon Congress to repeal sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA and emphatically states:

“It is the view of this House of  Representatives of the State of Rhode Island Providence Plantations that the National Defense Authorization Act and the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) do not now, and should never, authorize the Armed Forces of the United States to investigate, arrest, detain, or try any person within the United States, or to militarily detain without charge or trial civilians not captured on any battlefield.”

It certainly is refreshing to see states standing up to unconstitutional Federal actions. One certainly hopes this indicates we are on the verge of a state-sovereignty and nullification renaissance. We see in the joining of the various organizations across the political spectrum to oppose the Federal tyranny that is the NDAA – Tenth Amendment Center, Rhode Island Liberty Coalition, ACLU, Demand Progress, the Committee for the Defense of the Bill of Rights, P.A.N.D.A. and the Oathkeepers, to name a few – that anything is possible. We have a long road ahead of us, filled with great leaps forward and backwards. But for tonight, score for Liberty!


If you live in Rhode Island, contact your representative and thank them for passing H7916.

You can find contact information for your representative HERE.

To track liberty preservation legislation across the U.S. click HERE.

For model liberty preservation legislation, click HERE.

Blake Filippi

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