The NDAA: An Unconstitutional Act

By Margaret Beegle

On New Year’s Eve, as We the People were preparing for our festivities, President Barack Obama was busy signing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This Act has provisions that contradict the guarantees of the United States Constitution. The NDAA takes effect on March 3 of this year. Under Title X, Subtitle D (titled Counter-Terrorism), it allows the U.S. military to assume the powers of domestic policing and to hold indefinitely and without trial any U.S. citizen that is considered a terrorist or accessory to terrorism (my emphasis). U.S. citizens can be shipped to Guantanamo or other black sites until “the end of hostilities.” The language is vague and wide open to varying interpretations (i.e., “directly supported,” “substantially supported,” “belligerent act,” and “associated forces” are not defined). Recall that myriad groups have been called “terrorist.” In other words, any of us could be disappeared. A hypothetical example is if a U.S. citizen opposes the war that is being crafted against Iran, then that person could be deemed to be supporting “the enemy.” And where, now, are our rights? There are sections of the Constitution that are clearly and unambiguously contrary to the stipulations of the NDAA. They include: • Article I, which delineates Congressional powers, Section 8: “To define and punish…Offences against the Law of Nations…” • Section 9 of Article I: “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.” • Amendment I (Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition): “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” • Amendment IV (Search and arrest warrants): “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” • Amendment V (Rights in criminal cases): “…nor [shall any person] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” • Amendment VI (Rights to a fair trial): “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed…and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” • Amendment VIII (Bails, fines, and punishments): “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” The NDAA violates the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (forbidding the use of the U.S. military on domestic soil) and builds on the earlier, repugnant Patriot and Military Commissions Acts. It cripples the foundation of our government, the separation of powers, by allocating a frightening amount of power to the executive branch, which controls the military. President Obama agreed to the NDAA and attached a “signing statement,” indicating how he plans to interpret the law, just as George W. Bush did before him. “Signing statements” let the President pick and choose what he or she will support or ignore, and how he/she plans to effect it. Obviously, this is not the way a law is supposed to work. Article II defines the duties of the president and includes these words: “Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United, and will to the best of Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’ ” (My emphasis.) Barack Obama swore this Oath when he was inaugurated, but he betrayed the Constitution by signing the NDAA. He also betrayed it by becoming the judge and jury when ordering the assassination of U.S. citizens and others. Can it be denied that we now have a government of Men, not of Law? What should we do? I would like to hear your thoughts and then we can decide upon a response. PS: Senator Amy Klobuchar voted for the NDAA. refresh –>