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California governor signs law defying cooperation with NDAA indefinite detention

000_150876127_siCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law barring state cooperation with any attempt by the federal government to indefinitely detain people. The legislation targets the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Brown signed into law AB351, which goes beyond any other state in  rejecting federal indefinite detention power, according to the  Tenth Amendment Center. The law reads, in part, “It is the  policy of this state to refuse to provide material support for or  to participate in any way with the implementation within this  state of any federal law that purports to authorize indefinite  detention of a person within California.”

The NDAA allows the US military to indefinitely detain  anyone – sans charges or a trial – on the basis of “national  security” concerns. The legislation has drawn a series of  legal challenges and attempts in several states to limit its  strength.

California’s new law not only targets the NDAA provisions, but  also any future federal law that grants officials open-ended  detention powers.

Though the NDAA has not been used to date, both administrations  of Presidents Obama and George W. Bush have claimed power to  detain indefinitely without charge “enemy combatants”   caught in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world at Guantanamo  Bay and other prisons.

In September, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges  announced that he would be taking part in a federal lawsuit   demanding the Supreme Court weigh in on the  constitutionality of the NDAA provision allowing for indefinite  detention.

That move was only the latest in a long legal saga following a  legal victory with the appellate court of New York which last  year declared Section 1021 of the NDAA unconstitutional. The Obama administration quickly  appealed that ruling, and in July it was overturned.

Hedges, who says he has illegally been held by the US government  numerous times during his career as a foreign correspondent,  wrote that the appellate court overturned the initial victory  against the NDAA because “with respect to citizens, lawful  resident aliens, or individuals captured or arrested in the  United States, Section 1021 simply says nothing at all.”

“The court, in essence, said that because it did not construe  the law as applying to US citizens and lawful residents we could  not bring the case to court,” Hedges wrote in his September  op-ed.

Hedges pointed out that the Supreme Court may never hear the  case, as it receives some 8,000 requests each year. Out of those,  it only hears between 80 and 100.

California’s move against indefinite detention powers, however,  marks a continuing trend among individual states.

Last year, Virginia signed a bill into law prohibiting state  cooperation with federal government attempts at indefinite  detention. The state of Alaska then passed a similar bill.



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