The Tennessee legislature will consider HB1629 and SB2669 in the 2012 session. The legislation would effectively nullify the detention provisions in the NDAA and would also require federal agents making an arrest in the Volunteer State for any reason to first obtain written permission from the county sheriff.
This bill declares that any federal law purporting to require local or state law enforcement agencies to act at the direction of the federal government or the United States military is beyond the authority granted to the federal government pursuant to the United States Constitution, is not recognized by this state, is specifically rejected by this state and is declared to be invalid in this state. This bill further declares that any federal law purporting to give federal agents or employees, including any members of the United States military, the authority of any state or local law enforcement agency of this state, without the express permission of this state, is beyond the authority granted to the federal government pursuant to the United States Constitution, is not recognized by this state, is specifically rejected by this state, and is declared to be invalid in this state.
The act takes aim at indefinite detention provisions in the NDAA. Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey called language in the NDAA vague and overbroad, pointing out that Americans should never simply trust in the good intentions and moral clarity of the president or federal judges to protect their rights.
“It falls on the states to step in and protect their citizens,” he said. “I can’t imagine a more clear-cut application of state and local interposition as a check on federal power. What could be a more palpable, deliberate and dangerous unconstitutional act than the federal government indefinitely detaining an American citizen without due process?”
The Tennessee bill also “makes it a Class E felony for any official, agent, or employee of the United States government to enforce or attempt to enforce any federal law, order, rule or regulation that is beyond the authority granted to the federal government pursuant to the United States Constitution,” and includes provisions for kidnapping charges if a federal agent were to detain a U.S. citizen in Tennessee under the NDAA.
Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) and Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) sponsor the House version of the bill. Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) sponsors the Senate bill.
The Volunteer state joins Washington and Virginia considering legislation to nullify detention provisions in the NDAA. And local governments have also stepped up, including El Paso and Fremont Counties in Colorado. While some argue the NDAA doesn’t apply to American citizens, Maharrey said that notion should not stop state and local governments from following James Madison’s admonition to interpose and draw a line in the sand.
“If what supporters say is true and the NDAA does not authorize indefinite detention of Americans, what is the harm in this legislation? Why would anybody oppose it? It does nothing but serve notice that state and local officials will not sit back and allow the federal government to exercise unconstitutional powers – powers supporters claim don’t exist anyway. It simply affirms a fence that supposedly already exists. The only rational I can find for opposing this bill is if they really do want the option of detaining Americans without due process to remain open,” he said. “You can only oppose this legislation if you accept the idea that the federal government has the authority to do whatever it wants with absolutely no check on its actions – Constitution be damned. If you ask me, that’s a lot scarier than whatever terrorist threat they claim to be protecting me from.”
TAC executive Michael Boldin said he expects other states to soon follow the lead of Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.
“We have pretty strong indications that Rhode Island, Utah, Maine, New Jersey, Oklahoma and other states will be introducing similar legislation soon. This is just a start – and activists all over the country need to contact state legislators right now to voice their support.”
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Contributed by of Tenth Amendment Center.