On Thursday, April 18, the Michigan House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill prohibiting state agents and law enforcement from participating with the federal government in the indefinite detention of its citizens.
By a vote of 109-0, state representatives joined their colleagues in the state senate in protecting citizens of the Wolverine State from being apprehended and detained in federal prisons without trial. The state senate unanimously approved an identical measure in March.
Representative Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills), the primary sponsor of HB 4138, spoke out in favor of his bill. “We're standing up for the rights of people in Michigan," McMillin said. “Due process should be a no-brainer.”
It should be, but it isn’t. Not anymore.
The Michigan bill is a direct nullification of provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that purport to authorize the president to deploy the U.S. military to apprehend and detain American citizens inside the United States suspected by the president of aiding enemies of the homeland.
Sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 NDAA purport to grant to the president the power to deploy the U.S. armed forces to apprehend and detain any person he suspects of aiding al-Qaeda or “associated forces.” Anyone imprisoned under these provisions will be denied their rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, including the right to due process and the right to assistance of counsel.
With regard to the latter, in 2011, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) infamously told anyone who may be detained indefinitely, “Shut up! You don’t get a lawyer!”
If states are to perform their obligation to stand as bulwarks of liberty, lawmakers must stand and refuse to allow Senator Graham, President Obama, or any other agent of the federal government to deprive citizens of those rights given to them by God and protected by the Constitution.
The most potent weapon in the state arsenal against federal tyranny is nullification. Nullification occurs when a state holds as null, void, and of no legal effect any act of the federal government that exceeds the boundaries of its power as drawn in the Constitution.
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Photo of Michigan House of Representatives Chamber in Lansing, Michigan