Virginia Interposes to Protect Citizens from NDAAMelancton Smith • Friday March 2, 2012 8:33 AM PDT •
States are starting to show concern about certain provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”), which allows the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens who are alleged to be terrorists or aiding terrorists. The President has “promised” to exempt citizens from indefinite detention, but that does not change what the law says or that he can always change his mind when he wants to.
Concerned about the provisions of the NDAA, the Virginia Legislature is acting to interpose to protect its citizens. According to the new statute:
1. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no agency of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, political subdivision of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, employee of either acting in his official capacity, or member of the Virginia National Guard or Virginia Defense Force, when such a member is serving in the Virginia National Guard or the Virginia Defense Force on official state duty, shall aid an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of any citizen pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (P.L. 112-18, § 1021) if such aid would place any state agency, political subdivision, employee of such state agency or political subdivision, or aforementioned member of the Virginia National Guard or the Virginia Defense Force in violation of the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Virginia, and provision of the Code of Virginia, any act of the General Assembly, or any regulation of the Virginia Administrative Code.
In other words, the state is refusing to aid federal authorities in the execution or enforcement of the offending provisions of the NDAA. This passed the state House by a vote of 96-4 and the state Senate by a vote of 39-1. The state governor has promised a veto, but the large majorities will prevent this. The Tenth Amendment Center has this story on the passage of the new law.
This is exciting to see states stand up to Leviathan and interpose to protect the people. Such acts have not been uncommon in American History. Indeed, the Framers of the Constitution expected the states to act as a check on usurpation of the national government.
For those of you interested in doing more reading on state nullification and interposition, I recommend the following books: