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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Michigan U.S. Rep. Justin Amash opposes Defense Authorization Act on Constitutional grounds

English: Congressman Justin Amash
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Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) is in
opposition to most within his party to the National Defense Authorization Act.

Congressman Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, has taken a different stance in opposition to many in his party on a defense measure being debated in the U.S. Senate this week.

Boldly speaking out Rep. Amash called the bill “one of the most anti-liberty pieces of legislation of our lifetime” and declaring it possible passage “destructive to our Constitution”.

The Michigan Congressman was one of five House Republicans to vote against the measure when it was passed by the House in May, by a 322-96 vote and, the U.S. Senate is set to vote on the bill this week.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) cited that the National Defense Authorization Act will allow the U.S. military to declare national territory part of the "battlefield" in the “War on Terror.”

Ironically, the measure was drafted across party lines with Senators Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and John McCain (R-Arizona) working together as co-sponsors. 

The act would “permit the federal government to indefinitely detain American citizens on American soil, without charge or trial, at the discretion of the President,” Amash said in a Facebook posting.
“The President should not have the authority to determine whether the Constitution applies to you, no matter what the allegations,” Amash said. “Please urge your Senators to oppose these outrageous provisions,” he stated
A part of the bill specifically notes “the requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States,” but Rep. Amash believes that language is “carefully crafted to mislead the public” by no precisely excluding U.S. citizens from the measure actions.
Note that it does not preclude U.S. citizens from being detained indefinitely, without charge or trial, it simply makes such detention discretionary,” he wrote.
The White House has placed out tealeaves in advance that President Barack Obama is likely to veto the bill, if it reaches his desk. Senator Levin and other backers of the provision believe the administration’s concerns are overblown, according to The National Journal.
“Any bill that challenges or constrains the president's critical authorities to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the nation would prompt the president's senior advisers to recommend a veto," cited in a White House letter to the Senate Armed Service Committee.
Levin contended the President would retain the ability to determine whether suspects remain in civilian or military custody and, whether they’d be charged in civilian courts or before a military commission,” the Journal said.
“The only covered persons left are those who are illegally in this country, or who arrive as tourists or on some other short-term basis,” The Journal quoted Levin said.
"That’s a small remaining category, but an important one, because it includes the terrorist who clandestinely arrives in the United States with the objective of attacking military or other targets here,” Senator Levin cited
Members of the Occupy Lansing movement staged a protest at Senator Levin’s Lansing based office on November 28th, in opposition to his support on the National Defense Authorization Act. In a Press Release published on ROJS-N, members Occupy Lansing noted that the measure was in direct opposition causes the 99% support.
"Occupy feels it is important that our representatives know that this is still America.  Not foreign soil.  We have constitutional rights of due process in America as American citizens.  This bill is a direct conflict with that right.  It will not be tolerated by the 99%," Occupy Lansing press release stated.
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