A bill that would prevent federal officials from enforcing the indefinite detention provisions found in sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 within Arizona has passed a key committee of the Arizona State Senate.
On Tuesday, Senate Bill 1437 passed the Senate Federalism, Mandates and Fiscal Responsibility Committee with 4 voting in favor and 2 voting against. The bill would prohibit federal officials from indefinitely detaining civilian residents in the state. It would also prohibit extrajudicial executions of any person or resident in Arizona.
Bill sponsor Sen. Judy Burges (R-Sun City West), who said that the NDAA indefinite detention provisions are a threat to civil liberties, told The Arizona Daily Star, “We’re trying to push back against federal overreach.”
The bill states, “The legislature finds that this state is not a battlefield subject to the laws of war, and that neither Congress nor the President of the United States can constitutionally authorize the detention or disposition of any person in this state or a resident of this state within the United States under the law of war who is not serving in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service during a time of war or public danger.”
Under the proposal, those who violate the prohibitions against unlawful detentions or executions would face prosecution.
People Against the NDAA founder Dan Johnson told the Tenth Amendment Center, “Justice Antonin Scalia said we would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t think the Supreme Court would approve another WWII, Japanese-American style, internment. Arizona has a chance to join several states to head this off and avoid repeating a dark part of American history.”
Now that the bill has passed the Senate Federalism, Mandates and Fiscal Responsibility Committee, it must pass another vote before the Rules Committee before it can face a vote by the full State Senate.
If it were to become law, Arizona would become the fifth state with a law on the books limiting military detentions by the federal government, joining California, Alaska, Virginia, and Michigan.
The American Civil Liberties Union said of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which was signed into law by President Obama, “The law is an historic threat because it codifies indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. It could permit the president – and all future presidents – to order the military to imprison indefinitely civilians captured far from any battlefield without charge or trial.”
The ACLU added, “There is substantial public debate and uncertainty around whether Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA could be read even to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act and authorize indefinite military detention without charge or trial within the United States.“