An Arizona bill would take a strong step toward nullifying indefinite detention in the state.

Arizona state Senator Judy Burges recently introduced  SB1291. This bill would ban the state of Arizona from enforcing sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. These sections purport to give authority to the federal government to indefinitely detain anyone, anywhere – without charge or trial. This bill also covers indefinite detention without due process authorized under “any similar law or authority enacted or claimed by Congress or the President.”

The bill garnered a large number of cosponsors, including Crandell, Farnsworth (D), Murphy, Melvin, Shooter, Ward and Representatives Borrelli, Mitchell, Seel, Thorpe, Townsend, Barton, Gowan, Livingston, Lovas and Petersen introduced

The bill was drafted by the Arizona Tenth Amendment Center State Coordinator, Adam Henriksen, along with the Founder of the People Against the National Defense Authorization Act (PANDA), Dan Johnson.

“This will be Arizona’s third attempt to essentially nullify the NDAA’s kidnapping and indefinite detainment provisions – which blatantly violate several portions of the constitution,” Henriksen said. “I look forward to working with Dan to stop that.”

The bill states that anyone in violation of this new legislation would be “subject to prosecution pursuant to title 13 or any other applicable law.”

If this bill passes, Arizona would become the fifth state to take steps to nullify indefinite detention, joining Alaska, California, Michigan and Virginia.  Those states have passed similar legislation in the last two years, but far more limited in scope. An additional eight states have legislation based on the Tenth Amendment Center’s model legislation, the Liberty Preservation Act.

“Yesterday, Justice Antonin Scalia said we would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t think the Supreme Court would approve another WWII, Japanese-American style, internment,” Johnson said. “With SB1291, Arizona has a chance to join several states to head this off and avoid repeating a dark part of American history.”

All of these states are following James Madison’s blueprint for stopping federal overreach. In Federalist 46, he argued that a “refusal to comply with officers of the Union” along with other actions at the state and local level would create a situation where the federal government would have an almost impossible time enforcing their acts.   When several states join together and do the same, Madison said  it would “present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.”

Johnson pointed out the use of nullification is philosophically consistent with the principle of consent that was expressed in the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man.  A refusal to nullify unconstitutional federal actions creates a corresponding lack of consent for constitutional ones.  This, in turn, transforms our government from a government by consent to a government by compulsion.


In Arizona:  Take steps to support HB1291 HERE.

Other States:  Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation.  Model bills and contact info HERE.

Adam Henriksen

The 10th Amendment

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