After inexplicably allowing it to languish on his desk for over a month, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (photo) has finally joined the fight against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by agreeing to sign the bill prohibiting Virginia’s military or law enforcement from assisting in the detention of American citizens.
The governor’s assent didn’t come without exception, however. Virginia’s chief executive informed the state legislature that he would sign HB 1160 only if they agree to amend the bill according to his wishes.
If the legislature passes the amended bill, then officers of the state police, members of the Virginia National Guard, and Virginia Defense Force would be forbidden to participate in the apprehension and indefinite detention of Americans and the associated denial of habeas corpus and Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Both these outrageous violations of constitutional liberties are key components of the NDAA.
On March 8 the state Senate of Virginia passed HB 1160, the bill that would prevent the use of any state agency or member of the Virginia National Guard or Virginia Defense Force to participate in the unlawful detention of a citizen of Virginia by the U.S. government in violation of the state and federal constitution as set forth in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Senate vote completed legislative action on the bill, which had already been approved by Virginia's House of Delegates where it was introduced by Delegate Bob Marshall.
One of the most noxious elements of the NDAA is that it places the American military at the disposal of the President for the apprehension, arrest, and detention of those suspected of posing a danger to the homeland (whether inside or outside the borders of the United States and whether the suspect be a citizen or foreigner).
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Photo of Gov. Bob McDonnell: AP Images