California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a law banning the federal government from indefinitely detaining the state’s residents under the National Defense Authorization Act or any other federal law.
The $633 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2013, which funds the military, maintained the controversial sections 1021 and 1022 from the previous year’s bill that give the military unprecedented power to seize suspected terrorists anywhere in the world, including American citizens on U.S. soil, and keep them locked up indefinitely without charge or trial. The bill gives the president and future presidents the unfettered authority to wage war against Al Qaeda, the Taliban and “associated forces,” without defining what those might be. It made those designated as “enemy combatants” subject to indefinite detention, extraordinary rendition and military tribunals without requiring their knowledge or willful intention to provide “material’ or “substantial support.”
The Golden State’s new law – the California Liberty Preservation Act – flew through the state’s legislature on 3 with a unanimous vote of 37-0 in the Senate and 71-1 in the state assembly in early September, the New American reported.
California’s law prohibits any “California agency, political subdivision of this state, an employee of an agency or political subdivision of this state…or a member of the California National Guard, on official state duty, from aiding an agency of the Armed Forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of a person within California” under the NDAA, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Act, or any other federal law that could lead to the indefinite detention of a person within California. The bill also prohibits the use of state funds for any activity that would aid in implementing the NDAA.
“It is the policy of this state to refuse to provide material support for or to participate in any way with the implementation within this state of any federal law that purports to authorize indefinite detention of a person within California,” the act says.
“This language of AB351 goes far beyond what has been considered in most other states, which focus solely on indefinite detention powers under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and nothing else,” according to The Tenth Amendment Center. The Tenth Amendment says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” “[The California] legislation broadened the scope by recognizing that indefinite detention should not be complied with no matter what federal law is used to justify it. … This can make a HUGE dent in any federal effort to detain without due process in California. As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said recently, such widespread noncompliance can make a federal law ‘nearly impossible to enforce.’ Quite simply, the federal government is going to have an extremely difficult time – at best – carrying out indefinite detention in California without the assistance of California.
The controversial NDAA has generated various lawsuits by Americans who fear detention as dissidents. In July a federal appeals court in New York threw out a previous ban by a district judge on the enforcement of the NDAA in a lawsuit filed by former New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges, MIT professor Noam Chomsky and others.
The plaintiffs said Section 1021, which that gives the government power to detain suspects in military custody indefinitely without charge or trial violates their rights of free speech and free assembly. They argued that the NDAA language is so vague it “provokes fear” that they could be seized and subjected “to indefinite or prolonged military detention” for exercising their constitutionally protected right to political speech. District court judge Katherine Forrest twice ruled In their favor, including ordering a permanent injunction against implementing the NDAA but the appeals court ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the case.
In a September 2 editorial on Truth-out, Hedges said he and his fellow plaintiffs will file a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to review the appeals court ruling. “All we have left is the Supreme Court, which may not take the case,” Hedges said. … If Section 1021 stands it will mean that more than 150 years of case law in which the Supreme Court repeatedly held the military has no jurisdiction over civilians will be abolished. … It will mean citizens seized by the military will languish in military jails indefinitely or in the language of Section 1021 until “the end of hostilities”—in an age of permanent war, for the rest of their lives.