A ray of light on that new "Detain US Citizens" NDAA law

On December 31, 2011, while still on vacation in balmy Hawaii, Obama signed into law a bill — approved by both houses in Congress — which now makes it legal for the military to detain — indefinitely — any and all U.S. citizens without charge or trial. The bill the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA). I’ve warned you about this bill under its previous guise as Senate Bill 1867. Read here, here, and especially here.
When I posted the news of Obama’s signing of NDAA, I made this observation:

“On the last day of 2011, with a flick of his pen, Obama shredded our 224-year-old Constitution with its Bill of Rights that protect and preserve our individual liberties.”

Here’s a calmer perspective on the new law.
~Eowyn

EDITORIAL: Obama and dictatorship

The Washington Times – Jan. 3, 2012
Can a mundane defense authorization law create an Obama dictatorship? Many people on the political right and left have been alarmed by language in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that they argue authorizes the president to use military force to capture, detain, torture and kill Americans at home and abroad. The furor centers on Sections 1021 and 1022 of the law, which deal with detaining terrorist suspects. Specifically at issue is to what extent the law allows the government to treat American citizens like enemies of the state.
This dust-up is thick with irony, given that the Obama White House has gone out of its way to extend full constitutional protections to terrorists who have never set foot on U.S. soil. At the same time, President Obama has claimed the right to target Americans with deadly force overseas, though his legal team refuses to explain the basis for this extraordinary and unconstitutional power. The NDAA itself states that nothing in it changes existing law, but because Americans are not allowed to know what powers the president already has, such guarantees ring hollow.
All dramatics aside, no matter what the murky NDAA says or means, it cannot strip Americans of their constitutional rights. Chief Justice John Marshall laid out this logical principle in the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison, which established the standard of judicial review. He wrote that if a law conflicts with a rule or right under the Constitution, “the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the Legislature, [therefore] the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.” This is a bedrock principle of American politics. Even if the most expansive reading of the defense authorization is correct and it does represent some kind of White House power grab, it doesn’t matter, because any such provision negating rights held by citizens would be struck down as unconstitutional once it was adjudicated.
There also is the matter of the law’s political context. Those who argue that the NDAA is some kind of enabling act for an impending Obama imperium must also explain how such a bill was passed by a divided Congress, particularly the conservative Republican-controlled House. If control was Mr. Obama’s objective, it would have been more sensible to craft the legislation during the two years when San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi was speaker of the House, Democrats enjoyed a supermajority in the Senate and Mr. Obama was not so unpopular. He could have used those purported extraordinary powers to head off the “shellacking” he took during the 2010 midterm elections, assuming he thought he could get away with it.
The true test of the NDAA would be if Mr. Obama attempted to do what some people fear he might do, namely, begin a vendetta against his political opponents or others he wants to deal with “Chicago style.” But should we honestly believe Mr. Obama will soon order mass arrests and detentions of peaceful American citizens? That members of the military would carry out such orders, which go against all other laws and customs and the Constitution? That such actions would not be met with a flood of court cases, mass demonstrations, civil disobedience and active resistance? And all this would happen in an election year? It will take more than a scrap of paper to end freedom in America.

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0 responses to “A ray of light on that new "Detain US Citizens" NDAA law

  1. Hardly comforting thoughts if you are the person indefinately detained and facing the daunting and costly prospect of a court case – that is if you are permitted to communicate with anybody about your situation in the first place!

     
    • Yup… Constitutional protections guranteed, just have a team of lawyers on retainer who know instantly where you went and who has you if you disappear one day and infinite time and money to expend on a legal challenge.

       
  2. This is an excerpt from a 48 minute talk by Professor Justin Frank, a clinical psychiatrist and the author of the book “Obama on the Couch” posted on C-Span http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/ObamaontheCo
    When a man in the audience voiced his concern over Obama’s ordering “extra-judicial killings.” Professor Frank responded:
    “….I think if he can, somewhat anonymously and at a distance, express aggression, he is somewhat comfortable doing that.” (approx 35 minute mark)

     
    • Thanks for the tip and the link, Grannie. I will find the time to listen to Frank’s talk and maybe get a copy of his book!

       
      • I’ve got to warn you that he’s a leftie, mostly an Obama apologist. This question came up towards the end of his talk. It really was interesting in view of all the abandonment issues of Obama’s childhood. Dr. Frank is a Freudian and it all traces back to “mama.”

         
  3. …because any such provision negating rights held by citizens would be struck down as unconstitutional once it was adjudicated.
    That’s assuming it would actually be adjudicated.
    I don’t want any POTUS to have this kind of power, and especially not Barack Hussein Obama.
    -Dave

     
  4. He is now pushing to have all Internet users ID’d. They say it would be for our benefit. A fed controlled database which would somehow mean we wouldn’t have to ‘memorize dozens of passwords.’ I kid you not. Not difficult to connect the dots here. Internet critics with blogs would be targeted by his national security threat clause in the detention act. It’s really all about Barry’s job security, isn’t it?
    Political opponents/representatives would probably get off scot free because they are letting him get away with shredding the Constitution.

     
    • Ah, just like all the proponents of “cloud computing”… just put all your software, music and data on the “cloud” somewhere, it’s (sorta) safe!

       
  5. Of course the Constitution trumps any of the unconstitutional laws that have been passed and or are being discussed right now for legislation. We appear to have a president who isn’t remotely concerned with following the principles set forth in our constitution.
    If we continue to tolerate this situation, and allow Congress to pander to his whims then we are co dependant. We are to inhale the spirit of FDR and JFK and start making waves for the constitutional right we have to take away his privilege to run the country and invoike the 25th Amendment Section 4. Articles of impeachment should be written up at the same time listing all the violations of the Constituion including the Obamacare Health Reform Bill. We have to start protesting en masse, not like OWS but to our Congressmen and women, and through the people who stand for freedom, like Marcy Kaptur and her RETURN TO PRUDENT BANKING ACT which has been sitting in the House of Reps for months now, and Denis Kucinich ‘s NEED Act of 2011. We have the right to a patriotic president, we have to exert that right. Jesus changed the world with twelve men, we can do it from here, right?

     
  6. Terry,
    In the video, at the 3:15 mark, Allen West quoted page 657 of the NDAA, claiming that there is language explicitly exempting American citizens from detention, etc.
    I went to page 657, there is no such language. Please verify for yourself.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr1540rh/pdf/BILLS-112hr1540rh.pdf
    Here’s another video, not made by West — a man whom I regret I had once lauded:

     
  7. UNCONSTITUTIONAL LAWS cannot TOUCH the Constitution. Google this in quotes: “What to do about Unconstitutional Acts – National Defense Authorization Act 2012 (NDAA) or click here:
    http://members.beforeitsnews.com/story/1648/952/What_to_do_about_Unconstitutional_Acts_-_National_Defense_Authorization_Act_2012_NDAA.html
    Spread this video, please. I’m trying to wake people up:

    Thank you.

     

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