After an overwhelmingly successful run through the California legislature last months, Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB351, a law banning all cooperation with the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) or any other federal attempts to indefinitely detain people.
The NDAA allows the president to place people into indefinite detention by the US military without charges or a trial on “national security” grounds and has sparked a series of lawsuits from Americans who fear detention as political dissidents.
The NDAA has been hugely controversial and several states are considering limited legislation to that end, but California took the matter a step farther and not only forbade cooperation state officials with the NDAA, but also every other federal law present or future that might be used for open-ended detentions.
Though the Obama Administration has yet to use the NDAA for any detentions, they and the Bush administration before them have both claimed the power to place people into indefinite detention, and continue to hold a number of detainees, most famously at Guantanamo Bay, for whom no charges were ever filed and for which there are no plans to ever release them.
California’s resolution was backed heavily by civil liberties groups, and that it got such overwhelming bipartisan support to pass unanimously in the state senate and only get a single “no” vote in the assembly was touted as a “big deal” by Tenth Amendment Center Communications Director Mike Maharrey.
“Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together and passed legislation to protect against federal kidnapping,” Maharrey said, adding that “by saying, ‘No!’ to indefinite detention and refusing any state cooperation, the California legislature and Gov. Brown just ensured it will be very hard to whisk somebody away in the dead of night and hold them without due process.”
The Obama Administration has yet to react to the new law.