Liberty wins in legislative committee

April 9, 2013

By Katy Grimes

California flag

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia, won one for the good guys today. But it’s just the opening round.

AB 351 by Donnelly, The California Liberty Preservation Act, would declare indefinite detention of an California citizen, a violation of both the California and  U.S. Constitutions.

The bill was passed by the Assembly Public Safety Committee by a vote of 6-0.

According to Donnelly, AB 351 will protect Californians’ constitutionally guaranteed right to a fair and speedy trial and to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty against the broad federal powers granted by the National Defense Authorization Act.

“The NDAA gives the executive branch—under not only President Obama, but also every future president—unprecedented power to detain US citizens without due process. This runs counter to the very principles that make America great, and violates our nation’s commitment to the rule of law,” said Donnelly in a press statement.

“In states around the country, legislation is being considered which would severely hamper or even fully block any attempt to arrest and detain people without due process,” the Washington Times recently reported. “In Michigan, Montana, Texas and California, votes are coming up soon to move such bills forward.”

Donnelly’s primary concern with the National Defense Authorization Act was it gave the federal government authority to detain indefinitely anyone accused of terrorism, including American citizens. Shockingly, this label of terrorism has been applied to American anti-war protestors to people in the Tea Party.

Signed into law December 2011 by President Obama, the NDAA gave the federal government the power to “indefinitely detain” people, including US citizens, with no due process and no access to lawyers, the Washington Times found.

The federal Act therefore could easily allow for a future President to silence dissenters and deny the 1st Amendment.

AB 351 would prohibit California law enforcement from cooperating with any federal authority attempting to impose the Unconstitutional provisions of NDAA in California.

“We have a moral duty to protect Californians from the disastrous consequences made possible by NDAA,” Donnelly said. “When Constitutional protections are ignored, racist hysteria allows vulnerable groups to be targeted. It was not long ago we memorialized the tragedy of Japanese American internment camps on the floor of the California State Assembly. I am grateful for today’s committee vote, which shows Californians that their representatives are serious about ensuring similar violations of freedom and human rights abuses never happen again within our State.

The bill was heavily amended, but the intent was not removed.

Read Donnelly’s press statement here.  The bill is headed for the Assembly Appropriations Committee next.

6 comments

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  1. Brown delta trout
    Brown delta trout 9 April, 2013, 21:02

    Maybe we can get Queeg out of the internment camp? Or should we let the commie rot?

    Reply this comment
  2. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 9 April, 2013, 21:38

    Since it is the role of our courts, as the third and co-equal branch of both our state and federal governments, to determine if a law is or is not compatible with our constitution(s), isn’t a preemptive determination by some enforcement agency head in the executive branch or some legislative committee chairman putting the old cart before the horse?

    The way our laws are tested for constitutionality is for them to be properly contested through our courts, not for some local yokel to unilaterally determine what they believe should be that legal determination.

    BTW, I feel the same way about the obligation of the Governor and our AG to defend state laws in court, including Proposition 8, since no one else has legal standing to do so. It also seems to me that our federal Department of Justice has the executive obligation to defend and execute existing laws, such as DOMA, even if they politically disagree with them. To do otherwise, or to make a “signing statement” declaring the executive branch exempt from some or all of a law seems contrary to both good governance and our constitutional separations of powers doctrine.

    Reply this comment
  3. Brown delta trout
    Brown delta trout 10 April, 2013, 08:22

    The purpose of the legislature is to legislate. If a state legislature believes the executive branch is overeaching it’s power given in the constitution then it can pass a law limiting the power within the guidelines of the constitution. The legislatures of the states even have the power to ammend the constitution itself.

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  4. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 10 April, 2013, 17:58

    If you’ll take the time to read what AB351 is intended to do, as “reported” above, it is attempting to determine the constitutionality of a federal law. That’s not within the purview of any state legislature, and determining the constitutionality of something is not within the legislative power of any legislative body.

    Time for you to review basic civics again.

    Reply this comment
  5. Brown delta trout
    Brown delta trout 10 April, 2013, 19:59

    Well I have to disagree, because the executive branch is only responsible to execute the laws passed by the legislature, not to frame laws by executive order, and the legislature is to pass laws that are in harmony with the constitution so they must inherintly ask the question whether the law is constitutional. The judicial branch only judges. In my opinion all of our branches of government have tried to overstep there specific segregated duty.

    Reply this comment
  6. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 10 April, 2013, 21:26

    You need to read Marbury vs. Madison and bone up on the concept of Judicial Review, trout.

    Reply this comment

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