With opponents on Capitol Hill unable to keep President Obama from signing the controversial National Defense Authorization Act, lawmakers in Washington State are proposing a bill that would block its dangerous provisions from themselves.
Five Republican lawmakers in the state of Washington have proposed a bill that would keep the provisions that permit the president from indefinitely detaining American citizens from applying to state residents. Despite widespread opposition, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, or NDAA, into law on December 31, 2011. In authorizing the bill, President Obama added a signing statement insisting that he would not abide by the provisions that permit the unconstitutional actions guaranteed under the law. Even with this addendum, however, critics fear that this president — and any future ones — will use the bill to break down the civil liberties of Americans.
Reps. Jason Overstreet, Matt Shea, Vincent Buys, Cary Condotta and David Taylor, all Republicans, have introduced HB 2759, or the Washington State Preservation of Liberty Act. With the bill, the lawmakers aim to tackle the NDAA provisions that make American citizens on par with al-Qaeda terrorists in terms of making anyone in the US eligible for stay at the Guantanamo Bay military prison.
The bill calls for, among other items, “To condemn in no uncertain terms,” the sections of the NDAA that authorize the president to used the armed forces to indefinitely detain Americans without charge, subject them to military tribunals and transfer citizens to a foreign country or foreign entity.
“Winning the war against terror cannot come at the great expense of eviscerating the unalienable rights recognized by and protected in the United States Constitution,” add the lawmakers.
Outside of Washington, others have agreed since before the law went into effect. ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero responded to the news of the bill’s authorization last month by saying, “President Obama's action … is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law.”
In Congress, Texas Representative Ron Paul has actually proposed a bill that will repeal those dangerous provisions from coast-to-coast. Following Monday’s GOP primary in the state of Florida, Congressman Paul used an address to supporters to voice his opposition to the NDAA.
“The purpose of all governments should be the protection of individual liberty for each and every one of us!” said Paul. “We need to reverse the trend of the attack on our civil liberties, we need to repeal the Patriot Act . . . We need to reverse the trend of the attack on our civil liberties, we need to repeal the Patriot Act . . . We need to repeal the provision that says the president can use the military to arrest any American citizen and deny them a trial!”
He brought that argument to the Washington DC last month, asking, “Is this really the kind of United States we want to create in the name of fighting terrorism?”
“I recognize how critical it is that we identify and apprehend those who are suspected of plotting attacks against Americans. But why do we have so little faith in our justice system?” asked the congressman. He proposed a bill that would repeal the detention provisions, although Congress has yet to act on it.
In the other Washington, however, lawmakers may soon vote on a localized bill that would keep The Evergreen State safe from the NDAA. If passed, the Washington State Preservation of Liberty Act will bar the U.S. military from conducting an investigation or detainment of a citizen within the state of Washington.
Last month, the US Supreme Court already evoked the NDAA by using its detention provisions to justify the continued imprisonment of an alleged terrorist, Musa'ab al-Madhwani.