An Arizona Central article from the Editorial Board calls the Fourth Amendment Protection Act nothing more than a glorified selfie.

While admitting NSA spying is a real issue (I wonder if they wrestled with that one?), the op-ed board tosses the legislation Sen. Kelli Ward will sponsor in the upcoming Arizona legislative session onto the refuse heap, declaring it merely symbolic. The selfie reference was apparently meant to imply Ward only chose to introduce the legislation to call attention to herself.

The proposal is a legislative “selfie.” Beyond its ideological declaration that Ward and its other backers are strict readers of the Constitution and states-rights advocates, it would carry no authority or real-world value — beyond assuring citizens outside Arizona’s borders that our well of oddball, anti-Washington statement bills is far from dry.

The braintrust over at Arizona Central emphatically calls the Fourth Amendment Protection Act “useless.” Of course, it doesn’t back up its assertion with any facts or reasoning. The board members claim it will carry “no authority.” Well, why not? When a board makes such an absolute claim, one would think it has some kind of argument to back it up. If the policy experts over at Arizona Central really have evidence that the bill is “useless” they aren’t sharing it. Beyond the “gotcha” selfie reference and some swipes at people who “are strict readers of the Constitution” (Oh, the horror!) they offer no argument, no reasoning and no substance.

It seems to me Arizona Central forgot to read the bill before spewing their uninformed opinion across cyberspace. This isn’t just a tool to stop a data center from entering Arizona. It’s a bill to protect Americans from prosecution through unconstitutionally gathered data. It’s a bill to protect universities and their students, and corporations and their clients. It’s a bill to place impediments and obstructions in front of a runaway federal agency with no regards to your constitutional rights.

It’s true the NSA doesn’t currently have a data center in the Grand Canyon State. But it is expanding, and knowing it won’t get any material support from the state of Arizona might just discourage it from moving there.

Besides that, the bill is about much more than data centers. The NSA currently enjoys 160 university partnerships in 42 states. Two state universities in Arizona have partnerships with the NSA.

Without these university partnerships, students will not be handed grants or pushed to exploit personal data through research projects, develop tools to evade privacy protections in technology, nor aid in the development of standards that make us less secure in our online life. Instead, our universities should focus on development of technology making us more secure by enhancing defensive cryptography and standards. Universities should be free to follow that path, rather than be manipulated by grant money attached with an unconstitutional agenda.

Corporations also aid the NSA, especially companies in high tech, pharmaceutical, heath care and energy fields. Corporations shouldn’t be exploited for their third party data by the government. And they shouldn’t be helping Uncle Sam violate your rights.

The Fourth Amendment Protection Act deals with these issues in four ways.

  1. Prohibits state and local agencies from providing any material support to the NSA within their jurisdiction. Includes barring government-owned utilities from providing water and electricity.
  2. Makes information gathered without a warrant by the NSA and shared with law enforcement inadmissible in state court.
  3. Blocks public universities from serving as NSA research facilities or recruiting grounds
  4. Provides sanctions against corporations attempting to fill needs not met in the absence of state cooperation.

The first step is to say, “NO.” Senator Ward is doing just that. Unlike, the Arizona Central, she doesn’t throw up her arms in defeat at something that is morally corrupt, ethically bankrupt, and unconstitutional on both a federal and state level.

She takes action.

The editorial board over at the Arizona Central don’t even offer any ways to solve the problem. The members are apparently more interested in scoring political points than they are actually addressing unconstitutional spying. It seems, being “anti-Washington” is a worse crime than violating the Constitution and spying on pretty much everybody in the world in the eyes of the Arizona Central opinion corps.

The brilliant minds at Arizona Central say the state approach won’t work. James Madison disagrees. He wrote in Federalist 46 that states should “refuse to cooperate with officers of the union” when the feds commit an unwarrantable act. He said it would create “impediments” in a single state and when several states act together, Madison said it “would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.”

Was Madison just taking a selfie? Or was he onto something. I think I’m going to go with the “Father of the Constitution over some editorial board in Arizona.

This bill will create impediments and obstructions to NSA spying.

So instead, of just throwing your hands up in defeat of the NSA and the federal government. Let’s do something about it.

Do not give your volition. Do not give your resources to it. Don’t lift a finger to help it.

Action Items

If you are not an Arizona resident, please check out the model legislation provided by the Tenth Amendment Center.

For more information, go to the website dedicated to nullifying the NSA.

Kelli Sladick