What the heck is going on in America? In less than a week’s time a second state has put a foot down making it clear that it will not cooperate with a Federal Law which is blatantly unconstitutional. Yesterday Arizona became the second state to pass a nullification of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). After months of political acrobatics the Arizona Senate passed SB 1182 known as the Liberty Preservation Act, by a vote of 20 – 8 with two senators not voting. More strongly worded than the Virginia law passed last week as reported in the previous article First State to Defy the Federal Government, Virginia Nullifies NDAA, the Arizona version also makes it a crime for any public officer, state government agent or employee to assist in the “kidnapping” of an American citizen by the federal government under the NDAA. Read the whole bill below because it’s really quite good in comparison to Virginia’s.
The Liberty Preservation Act as passed
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Title 41, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding chapter 51, to read:
GOVERNMENTAL COMPLIANCE WITH THE
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2012
ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
41-5050. National defense authorization act of 2012; prohibited acts; violation; classification
A. THIS STATE AND ANY AGENCY OF THIS STATE SHALL NOT PROVIDE MATERIAL SUPPORT OR PARTICIPATE IN ANY WAY WITH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SECTIONS 1021 AND 1022 OF THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2012, PUBLIC LAW 112‑81, AGAINST ANY CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES.
B. THE DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY OR A SHERIFF OF THE COUNTY SHALL REPORT TO THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE ANY ATTEMPT BY AGENCIES OR AGENTS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO SECURE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SECTIONS 1021 AND 1022 OF THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT, 2011 PUBLIC LAW 112-81 THROUGH THE OPERATIONS OF THAT OR ANY OTHER STATE DEPARTMENT.
C. ANY PUBLIC OFFICER, EMPLOYEE OR AGENT OF THIS STATE OR ANY EMPLOYEE OF A CORPORATION WHO PROVIDES SERVICES TO THIS STATE AND WHO ENFORCES OR ATTEMPTS TO ENFORCE AN ACT, ORDER, LAW, STATUTE, RULE OR REGULATION OF THE UNITED STATES IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION IS GUILTY OF A CLASS 1 MISDEMEANOR.
Sec. 2. Findings
A. The Legislature finds that the enactment into law by the United States Congress of sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 is inimical to the liberty, security and well-being of the people of Arizona and that those sections were adopted by Congress in violation of the limits of federal power in the United States Constitution.
B. The Legislature further finds that sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, as they purport to authorize the detainment of persons who are citizens of the United States and captured within the United States without charge or trial, military tribunals for persons captured within the United States who are citizens of the United States and the transfer of persons who are citizens of the United States and who are captured within the United States to foreign jurisdictions, violate the following rights enshrined in the Constitution of the United States:
1. Article I, section 9, clause 2 relating to the right to seek a writ of habeas corpus.
2. The First Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
3. The Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
4. The Fifth Amendment right to be free from charge for an infamous or capitol crime until presentment or indictment by a grand jury.
5. The Fifth Amendment right to be free from deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law.
6. The Sixth Amendment right in criminal prosecutions to enjoy a speedy trial by an impartial jury in the state and district where the crime was allegedly committed.
7. The Sixth Amendment right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.
8. The Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses.
9. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
10. The Eighth Amendment right to be free from excessive bail and fines, and cruel and unusual punishment.
11. The Fourteenth Amendment right to be free from deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law.
Sec. 3. Short title
This act may be cited as the “Liberty Preservation Act”.
That’s some pretty heady stuff! Much more dynamically written than the Virginia bill and laying out in very specific language the portions of NDAA which the state of Arizona finds to be unconstitutional. The question remaining is whether Governor Jan Brewer will actually sign it into law or not. As a politician she claims to support states sovereign rights but reality is a bit different measure of her convictions than political campaign promises. She recently vetoed HB2434 known as the Sheriff’s First bill, the premise of which was to codify the fact that county sheriffs are the chief constitutional law enforcement of the state and that all federal law enforcement officers must notify local sheriff authorities before they can take action within the state. This is extremely important because it is specifically the sheriffs who hold the real power to protect a state’s population from unconstitutional federal acts like NDAA. Bear with me while we digress to this other important issue for a few moments.
Basically the office of sheriff, is the duly elected protector of individual constitutional rights in each county of a state. They have the authority to prevent illegal seizure of property, stop fraudulent bank foreclosures, protect farmers from illegal FDA raids, protect water rights, prevent illegal actions by the IRS and myriad other unlawful incursions which the alphabet soup of government and pseudo government agencies attempt to and often carry out against citizens. What would be the wrong in signing a bill which puts down on paper what is already understood about the duties of county sheriff’s departments? Should armed federal agents be allowed to just storm into every state unannounced like they own the place? Does it seem right that any agency can come in with agents dressed like Darth Vader’s storm troopers and drive armored personnel carriers down main street U.S.A. without prior warning let alone authorization by local authorities? How about raiding organic farmers and raw milk co-ops without charge? Don’t you think these folks have the right to protection from such things and that their local law enforcement should be there to ensure that these things don’t happen? These would be the same bunch of guys and gals who would be the only ones to stand in the way of you being hauled off under NDAA. Think about it, who else is there to stand up and intervene on your behalf if they come to haul you away but the keepers of the Constitution in your own state?
If you think Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of the Sheriffs First bill is isolated think again. This usurping of sheriff powers is becoming a theme. Without them to stand in the way of Federal agencies you’ve lost your last defense against laws like NDAA even if your state nullifies it? Who’s going to stop them, you? In February Delaware effectively stripped its state sheriffs of their ability to be the defenders of the Constitution.
“… Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, sending out mandates to commissioners informing them that their sheriffs no longer have arrest powers. In an opinion released Feb. 24, State Solicitor L.W. Lewis said that neither the state nor the common law grants arrest powers to the county sheriffs.”
“Beau Biden’s questionable ruling against the longtime tradition of the sheriff being the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the county because of election by the people means the state’s usurpation of the office appears to be a forthcoming fact.”
Not that Joe Bidden’s son really has the power to do this unilaterally considering the fact that Delaware sheriffs first took office in 1669 but who is there to stand in the way of a state government which feels it can sweep away hundreds of years of both state and constitutional law with the penning of a mere “mandate”. Who is really running this insane asylum? In most cases it’s no longer us so we’d better take what little bit of leverage we have left and use it to the nth degree. Think about this, in 2000 the state of Connecticut actually eliminated the office of sheriff completely. Now there’s a frightening thought.
With all that going on I know it doesn’t look promising for Brewer to sign the bill but most didn’t believe it would happen in Virginia either. Governor Bob McDonnell however did finally relent after his proposed amendments which substantially watered down the original were added by the Virginia Senate. It was a win even if it was a bit of a weak one. The key to getting this bill signed is for everyone in Arizona like the Virginians did, put the Governor’s office on speed dial, barrage her with emails, faxes and have a few thousand people sign some petitions. Nothing is going to happen with her unless a whole lot of people MOVE! The powers that be certainly are going to pressure her to veto, only the people who actually vote in the state can persuade her otherwise.
Jan Brewer is of course in Senator John McCain’s state and the NDAA is his pet perversion. He and another neoconservative Carl Levin wrote the bill. Guys like them favor being able to drag U.S. citizens “suspected” of being terrorists, possibly aiding and abetting or just sort of knowing someone who might be a terrorist out of their beds in the middle of the night. They’d like to be able to take anyone away from their families without so much as an explanation. Under the NDAA U.S. citizens can be taken to foreign countries, imprisoned without a phone call to an attorney, their spouse, their children or even their mother and then possibly held for years until they are old, gray or just die in some nameless military prison camp thousands of miles from home. We all know that any law which allows for the imprisonment of a person without charge, without proof and without trial will be abused. You know and I know it’s a foregone conclusion, the greater the unchecked power the greater that abuse. The NDAA is a bellwether of the potential political imprisonment of anyone in the U.S. for any reason. Just the mere suggestion of terrorist ties and anyone can be scooped up and spirited away. We are not just talking about the stereotypical main stream media fueled ideal of some radical terrorist with bombs strapped to their chest. We are talking about people who might just be privy to knowledge of activities like Wikileaks or other whistle blowing type activities because they are journalists. Under NDAA, members of the press who have had contact with entities which could be considered terrorist in nature even down to computer hackers could be captured and held under NDAA. The wording of the law and its implications were so broad that former NY Times Middle East bureau chief and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges and a number of other plaintiffs have brought suit against the government over NDAA. That case is now referred to as Hedges vs Obama. It has already been made clear in early testimony that the government could not guarantee that Mr. Hedges by virtue of his profession and contacts that he would not be detained under the new law,
(from the Naomi Wolf trial notes)
“Government lawyers in New York court tell Judge they can’t directly rule out detaining Chris Hedges for reporting, Occupy London for protesting, or the author of a hypothetical book on politics for expressing an opinion, under NDAA sections 1021 and 1022.”
Even prior to this, Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdóttir a co-plantiff in the case who along with a who’s who list of big name political pundits, writers and activists and a few more seeking to join them had been slated to give testimony. She however was advised by the Icelandic government not to travel to the U.S. for fear that her support of Wikileaks right to publish might have her detained under the NDAA. Regardless of assurances from the U.S. government that she would not be detained nor questioned she rather opted to have her affidavit read by by political consultant and author Naomi Wolf in court last month. It was probably a good move considering the fact that the U.S. government refused to put any guarantees about detention in writing and the fact that the government council later admitted that even Hedges just in his capacity as a reporter wasn’t exempt.
So where did this nullification thing come from out of the blue? Is it the new thing? A state just passes a law saying that it won’t recognize unconstitutional laws and viola you’re free! Well it’s not really that easy and it’s not a cure all but you’d be surprised to find out where it comes from. You probably never heard of it before last week if you even heard about it then but nullification is nothing new. For normal folks who can’t remember the maybe, if you were lucky, three seconds worth of 10th grade American history which might have mentioned something about the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. If they talked about it in school they might have also mentioned the Virginia Resolution that same year which nullified them both or the Kentucky Resolution nullifying them again the next year in 1799 but I doubt you’d remember it even if they did. I think I was head down asleep and drooling on my desk if it was talked about in my class at all. They sure make history some dull stuff in school. No one is seems comes out of American high schools today knowing that prior to the Civil War nullification was one of the most powerful tools in the trick box we had at keeping the federal government in check. A quick explanation of the Sedition Act if you don’t click on the link is that it made it illegal for anyone to oppose any measure (law, act, etc) of the government of the United States and carried a fine of up to $5,000 (remember this was 1798) plus six months to five years in jail. The second part made it basically impossible to say or write anything against the government, meaning either house of Congress or the President with intent to bearing them contempt, disrepute or to make anyone hate them enough to stir up the people to organize against any or all of them. All if this was served up with a side salad of aiding the hostile advances of foreign nations thrown in for good measure which was the only part that wasn’t unconstitutional in the whole thing. For this menu you could be fined up to $2000 and imprisoned for up to two years. I think you can see where this was all a teensy bit unconstitutional. If this act alone had stood, today we’d have absolutely no free speech with regard to the national government. There would be no negative reporting on acts carried out by the government, no griping when things are unfair, unjust or even flat out criminal. There’d be no criticism of any President, Congress or Senate. They’d have cart blanch to do whatever they liked and we’d all be thrown under the jail for pointing it out. So you can see where nullification has been very, very important in the past.
The best and the brightest even over 200 years ago knew that we could never just count on the judicial branch to overturn any unconstitutional laws which the Federal government might pass. Let’s face it, the judiciary is a part of the federal government and is always going to be more likely to side with them than the people who oppose an unjust law. That was a given even two centuries ago, let alone today with the entire system almost completely corrupted. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Patrick Henry were all instrumental in the nullification of the Alien and Sedition acts. You might find it difficult to believe though that George Washington was vehemently against these acts of nullification, believing that it would dissolve the union. As a matter of fact his sentiment was carried by many all the way up to the time of the Civil war as many, many unconstitutional laws were nullified by various states. Each time it occurred there would be someone yelling in the gallery that “The end is near”. Today if you talk about nullification with folks who know just enough history to be dangerous you’ll get stories of how supposedly nullification was used to preserve the slavery movement when that is completely untrue. It was actually the Northern states more so than even Southern ones which used nullification most often. As a matter of fact the North used nullification against the Fugitive Slave Act . In 1854 the Wisconsin Supreme Court rendered a decision that the act allowing slave owners to cross state lines and just point some black person out in the crowd and claim them as his runaway property was unconstitutional, thus nullifying it in that state. Then there was the famous South Carolina Ordinance of Nullification of 1832. It was prompted by a tariff on foreign imports which basically was protecting the class of Northern state manufacturers (businessmen) at the expense of Southern agrarians and some non-manufacturing New England states, most of which opposed it. Eventually a compromise was agreed upon between South Carolina and the federal government which lowered the tariffs enough so that everyone was satisfied but regardless, without the nullification action the burden would have been very heavy on a post War of 1812 depressed economy.
So let’s be very clear on what would justify a state government nullifying a federal law. It could be used for any law which infringes upon an individual constitutional right, an instance where the federal government has usurped the rights and powers only held by state governments or it exceeds the powers granted to the federal government under Article I, section 8 of the Constitution.
Remember, the 10th Amendment states that,
“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.”
It is the states that hold the extra power not the federal government. The problem is that the government truly hasn’t been held in check since the end of the Civil War. That war was a huge blow to the participation of many in active government. Things became very lopsided after that horrible period and this was honestly the point where infiltration of banking and corporate influence really started to make their greatest strides in political influence. Since that time the federal government has usurped many, many rights which belonged to the states. George Washington in his farewell address warned against this sort of thing and reminded people that if the government and the people so wished that parts of the Constitution be changed that it should be officially amended.
“If in the opinion of the People the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed”
If you can’t get a constitutional amendment then the federal government simply has no business in it. The problem is that not only have we experienced huge usurpation of states rights but the federal government has overstepped it’s bounds by gargantuan measure. There are no provisions for it to have any authority over health care, education, state marijuana laws, the formation of the TSA, unconstitutional measures like the NDAA, nosing around in intrastate commerce, the intrusiveness of the Real ID mandates, use of the National Guard in foreign wars, the Food Safety and Modernization Act and the list is too long to even go in to what all it now controls, is involved in yet has no authority to do so than by our own laziness and unwillingness to simply tell them “NO”!
The federal government is at it’s very basis incapable of self regulation. It, like any publicly run corporation is predicated on a continual growth model. The federal government will if left unchecked consume and control everything until the point it simply can no longer sustain itself having destroyed its own free commerce. Some of the founders of two centuries ago, even in their limited 18th century experience correctly envisioned what would happen if the government were left to its own devices, so they made sure that there was a system outside of the national government which would prevent it from becoming and irresistible power center. They knew that unbridled the federal government would morph into the same type of centralized power monopoly we had fought to free ourselves from, that of the European monarchies. Today’s government is really no different from them now other than the fact that we do still have state government which can yet be used to overturn unconstitutional law. It is the thorn in the side of a very bloated national government, one which is failing on almost every level.
We must Take this opportunity now to reclaim the most important of our lost rights. We must push back big corporate run government from the parts of our lives, states and businesses where they do the most harm. As I have said previously, the NDAA seems to be where we have collectively chosen to draw a line in the sand, therefore we all need to get behind our state governments which have proposed NDAA nullification legislation and hound our state representatives until both they and their governors capitulate!
Here is a list of the states which have currently active NDAA nullification legislation in process.
Kansas HR 6021
Maine HP 1397 – passed both House and Senate
Maryland HJ 0012
Oklahoma HCR 1025
Rhode Island H7916
Tennessee HB 2119 / SB 2669
Utah S.C.R. 11 – passed both House and Senate
Virginia HB 1160 – passed and becomes law July 1, 2012
Washington HB resolution 2759
West Virginia HB 4627
Are you dialing your phone yet? If your state is not on this very short list you ought to be contacting your state representatives and telling them that you want them to support NDAA nullification in your legislature. If you don’t know what to say then the 10th Amendment Center is providing a legislative pack that you can email right to your state representatives. It really couldn’t be easier than they’ve made it. It’s up to us what happens. Either we can sit in our living rooms eating bad take out pizza and watching people being hauled away to military detention camps on TV or we can make a few phone calls, write a few letters and get this taken care of. One thing I can guarantee is that if we choose to chew and watch rather than hitting key pads of our phones and computers that eventually it’s going to be us they are coming after and not just some guy on the television. When it happens if your local sheriff going to be there to protect you from those guys or is he going to be leading the way and showing them where you live? We are the ones who will ultimately decide which way that goes either by action or providing inaction.
If you want to know more about nullification, how it can work to aid in restoring the nation, its history and mechanics I would suggest reading the book by Thomas E. Woods Jr. PhD, Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century.
What next? Are you calling for pizza or that person in your state capital who supposedly represents you? It’s seriously your call.