WASHINGTON – Bills opposing the controversial National Defense Authorization Act have popped up in both the Indiana and South Carolina state legislatures.
The NDAA was harshly criticized by some as unconstitutional due to language in Sections 1021 and 1022 that allows for the indefinite detainment of U.S. citizens without due process.
Both bills would nullify the NDAA in its current form by denying law enforcement or any government official the right to carry out any act of detaining a citizen without due process.
In Indiana, the bill passed through the Corrections and Criminal Law Committee unanimously after testimony from sponsor Sen. Jim Banks and Elkhart County Sherriff Bradley Rodgers.
In South Carolina, the NDAA Nullification Act S.92 passed the Judiciary Committee 16-4. The bill was pre-filed last fall by Sen. Tom Davis who called Sections 1021 and 1022, “a direct threat to the liberty, security and well-being of the people of South Carolina.”
The next step for the bills in each state is to reach the floors of their respective Senates for a vote.
Shortly after the NDAA’s signing a bipartisan team including former Al Gore consultant Naomi Wolf and Ronald Reagan Justice Department official Bruce Fein went to work opposing the provision of the NDAA which allows for the detention of U.S. citizens.
“Journalists aren’t safe. Union leaders aren’t safe. Activists aren’t safe. Liberty is not safe,” Wolf, an author of half a dozen books, said during a conference call to supporters.
People Against the NDAA (PANDA) Indiana Team Leader James Kerner praised Bank’s testimony saying, “I suggest the ACLU, Occupy movement, Tea Party movement and Oath Keepers throw their full support behind Sen. Banks. He should be made a household name like Ron Paul.”
Indiana and South Carolina are not the first states to take up issue with the NDAA. In early 2012, shortly after its signing, the Virginia House of Delegates passed legislation to nullify it 96-4. Arizona passed similar legislation. Numerous other states and local governments are considering similar bills.
“Concerns about NDAA detention provisions transcend political party, ideology, and geography, and representatives in these diverse jurisdictions have stood up to resist an ongoing bipartisan assault on constitutional rights by federal officials,” the committee announced.
While a debate about the scope of the NDAA’s potential abuses continues to distract congressional policymakers, who voted without realizing the law’s terrifying implications, their counterparts in state and local governments are proving more conscientious, proactively acting on their oaths of office to defend the Constitution.”
Groups including the Tenth Amendment Center, The Bill of Rights Defense Committee, The American Civil Liberties Union and Demand Progress have all been working since early 2012 to oppose the NDAA.
The detainment portion of Section 1021 of the NDAA is not the only part that has come under scrutiny over its constitutionality. Federal District Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled last year that Section 1021 was facially unconstitutional because it had the potential to violate the 1st Amendment.
A group of journalists and activists had sued President Obama, Leon Panetta and a host of other government officials stating that they were forced to curtail some of their reporting and activism due to fear of violating the NDAA. Among the individuals were Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times foreign correspondent Chris Hedges, MIT linguist Noam Chomsky and “Pentagon Papers” activist Daniel Ellsberg.
In the following interview, Hedges explains what has happened in the Hedges vs. Obama NDAA lawsuit to date, the next steps and what he sees in America’s upcoming future.