California lawmakers are pushing a bill that would exempt the state from federal laws authorizing indefinite detention of citizens.
The California Public Safety Committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the California Liberty Preservation Act, which was introduced by Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly.
The bill passed the Democrat-controlled committee 6-0 with the support of a wide-ranging coalition that included the American Civil Liberties Union, Tenth Amendment Center, San Francisco 99% Coalition, San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the Libertarian Party of California.
The legislation is designed to free California from having to comply with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012, which Donnelly argues authorizes the potential seizure and indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. The California bill declares such federal power unconstitutional, and mandates the state and its localities refuse adhering to or assisting with federal implementation.
“The NDAA gives the executive branch—under not only President Obama, but also every future president — unprecedented power to detain US citizens without due process,” Assemblyman Donnelly, the bill’s author, wrote in a press release. “This runs counter to the very principles that make America great, and violates our nation’s commitment to the rule of law.”
The bill cites the Tenth Amendment, and affirms the enumerated nature of the federal government’s powers.
“The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution authorizes the United States federal government to exercise only those powers specifically delegated to it in the United States Constitution,” he wrote.
The bill goes on to attack the concept of indefinite detention without a trial as contrary to the letter and spirit of America’s laws and principles.
“Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA) codifies indefinite military detention without charge or trial of civilians captured far from any battlefield, violating the United States Constitution and corroding our nation’s commitment to the rule of law.”
Donnelly’s proposal moves to confront such unconstitutional overreach from the federal government by abstaining California from observing any and all federal laws that would result in depriving Californians of due process.
“[The bill] says the federal government only has the powers enumerated in the Constitution … and does not have the authority to detain people without due process,” said Donnelly during the committee hearing. “It is important that we in California say ‘no’ to human rights abuses that are endangered by the NDAA … instead of quietly complying with unjust and unconstitutional laws.”