Arizona Bill Would Nullify the NDAA, Protecting Citizens' Civil Liberties

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
Arizona Bill Would Nullify the NDAA, Protecting Citizens' Civil Liberties

A bill nullifying various federal overreaches recently passed the Arizona House of Representatives and is now awaiting action by the state Senate.

The Arizona House of Representatives will not cooperate with the federal government in denying due process to citizens of the Grand Canyon State.

By a vote of 34 to 24, the House passed HB 2573, a bill that would, among other things, prevent state officials from participating in the indefinite detention of Americans by the president as authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA).

The measure would amend Title 41 of the Arizona code by adding a section prohibiting state governmental compliance with unconstitutional federal mandates.

A majority of Arizona’s state lawmakers recognize that Arizona is, along with her 49 sister states, a sovereign entity endowed with what James Madison described as “numerous and indefinite powers.” The federal government, on the other hand, possesses only “few and defined” powers, Madison wrote in The Federalist, No. 45.

Thankfully, there are yet found among the nation’s hundreds of elected state and local representatives a small but well-informed minority that understands and appreciates that concept and the significant role states are designed to play in the defense of liberty.

One such official is Arizona state Representative Carl Seel (R-Phoenix), HB 2573’s chief sponsor.

"Every public officer is required to uphold the Constitution not only of the United States [but], in our case, the state of Arizona as well," Seel said, as quoted in the Arizona Daily Star. The article goes on to quote Seel explaining that his bill "best reflects preserving, where possible, the individual civil liberties."

While text of the bill lays out specific ways in which the NDAA denies citizens of many of the most basic constitutionally protected civil liberties, the surprising scope of the NDAA is unfamiliar to many.

President Barack Obama signed the latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law on January 2, renewing the power to apprehend and detain Americans indefinitely granted in the previous year’s version.

Next, as for the most pernicious parts of the NDAA 2012 that remain in effect, a bit of history is in order. 

On December 31, 2011, with the president's signing of that law, the writ of habeas corpus — a civil right so fundamental to Anglo-American common law history that it predates the Magna Carta — is voidable upon the command of the president of the United States. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is also revocable at his will.

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