05.23.2012 0

Judge enjoins enforcement of indefinite detention provisions of National Defense Authorization Act

By Rebecca DiFede — A few months back, NetRightDaily reported on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and how it threatens to dramatically impact the lives of citizens and non-citizens alike. If you are suspected of terrorist activity in any capacity, you can be detained indefinitely until the matter is decided.

Once this law was passed, it sent a shockwave of concern throughout the nation. It seemed as if this crazy law was put in place as an override switch for the Fifth Amendment in the event that the powers that be conjure a need to go around it. Although Obama claimed that the act was only a way to add stability to the Authorization for Use of Military Force for Terrorists Act (AUMF), the country wasn’t too sure.

As you can imagine, the thought of being captured and jailed indefinitely by your own government, in the “land of the free and the home of the brave” just doesn’t sit well with most Americans.

Judge Katherine Forrest, from the Southern District Court of New York, made impressive headway in the fight for freedom when she temporarily stopped the implementation of the law.

Plaintiffs in the case have alleged that the NDAA violates “both their free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First Amendment as well as due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” wrote Forrest in her decision enjoining enforcement of Section 1021 of the law.

Her decision deposed the government’s three main arguments in support of immediately enforcing the heinous bill. One of the arguments made by the government is that because none of the plaintiffs had ever been detained because of the law, that they had no standing to contest it.

Plaintiffs countered, however, that the law was having a chilling effect on activities otherwise protected by the First Amendment. They prevailed.

Forrest wrote that the plaintiffs had “shown an actual fear that their expressive and associational activities” might result in being indefinitely detained, as “each of them has put forward uncontroverted evidence of concrete — non-hypothetical — ways in which the presence of the legislation has already impacted those expressive and associational activities”.

After all, whether or not someone has felt the full force of a law, it may still affect the way they live their lives. The long arm of the law has been a guideline for behavior as long as laws have existed. Their entire purpose is to streamline the attitude of citizens to conform to society’s norms. The reason that most people don’t steal, drive drunk, or take drugs is because those activities are against the law and people fear the repercussions that come with breaking the law.

When asked about this issue, Americans for Limited Government president Bill Wilson commented that, “The Bill of Rights was designed to work under all circumstances, including wartime, and as such the authorization to use force in Afghanistan cannot supersede constitutional protections to due process.”

He added, “Nor can the government target citizens for activities otherwise protected by the First Amendment as violations of law or threats to national security.”

Although Obama’s administration maintains that the NDAA is only a reinforcement of the AUMF, Judge Forrest found that indeed the NDAA may expand the government’s power, and now will expose the law to full and complete scrutiny over whether it is constitutional.  Let’s hope that this law gets thrown out in court.  Judge Forrest’s initial actions are a good step in the right direction.

Rebecca DiFede is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.

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