PHOENIX, Ariz. (Feb. 15, 2016) – A bill that would take a step toward nullifying indefinite detention under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012, or any other federal law which might claim to authorize the same, passed an important, and final, Senate committee today.

Introduced by State Sen. Judy Burges, Senate Bill 1437 (SB1437) 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. (learn more here) This bill also covers indefinite detention without due process authorized under “any similar law or authority enacted or claimed by Congress or the President.”

Any person attempting to indefinitely detain a person in violation of the law would be “subject to prosecution pursuant to title 13 or any other applicable law.”

SB1437 passed the Senate Federalism, Mandates and Fiscal Responsibility Committee by a vote of 4-2 last week, and passed out of the Senate Rules committee with a “Proper for Consideration” recommendation today. After some procedural steps, the bill will be eligible for debate and consideration on the Senate floor.

A similar bill stalled in the Rules Committee last year, and supporters are calling today’s vote a big step forward.

If passed into law, 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 three years, but far more limited in scope. An additional three states have legislation based on the Tenth Amendment Center’s model legislation, the Liberty Preservation Act.

“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,” founder of People Against the NDAA Dan Johnson said last year. “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.”

ACTION ITEMS

In Arizona:  Take steps to support SB1437 HERE.

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

Mike Maharrey