Thursday, December 1, 2011
Government sanctioned lawlessness and the Defense Authorization Act
Wednesday's Daily Jot about the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 has fanned the embers burning in the hearts of many Americans. A lot of Americans just do not trust the Federal Government. So no matter what the language in the bill says, many Americans believe that the US government will be able to detain indefinitely US citizens if they are suspected of acting against the government. That may well be the case, but it would not be legal. There are countless examples where this particular government is breaking the law and nothing is being done about it--from not enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act to not allowing offshore drilling to selling guns to Mexican drug cartels.
With regard to detaining US Citizens, Go to Thomas Legislative (http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php) and type in National Defense Authorization Act 2012 then click on Subtitle D-Detainee Matters and read sections 1031 and 1032. As I read this, 1032 Section (b) is referring to 1031 paragraph (1) where it says that "the Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described in paragraph (2) ...in military custody pending disposition under the law of war." To my reading the key word here is "shall" which is a requirement under paragraph (1). This requirement defines the type of person that "shall" be held, essentially terrorists--al Qaeda and those working with them against the United States.
The clause exempting US citizens from detention under this law refers to the "requirement" that the Armed Forces SHALL hold a person. The exemption states: "The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States." Notwithstanding, if this legislation intended to indefinitely detain US citizens, it would be in direct violation of Article 1 Section 9 of the US Constitution: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." In 1866, the Supreme Court ruled that suspending habeas corpus was legal, but that military tribunals did not apply to citizens in states that had upheld Constitutional authority and where civilian courts were in operation.
Additionally, the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a speedy and public trial. Legally, this Defense bill cannot end run the Constitution. The government, however, can do whatever it wants until someone stops it as exemplified by the White House sealing court records of a US border patrol agent's murder with weapons sold to Mexican drug dealers through a government program. Ephesians 6:13 says, "Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." We can complain and get all worked up about the possibilities, but standing is the only action that will make a difference. Until we figure out how to do that, lawlessness will abound.
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!