U.S. Rep. Justin Amash opposes defense authorization bill, calling it "anti-liberty"
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township, is speaking out against a defense bill being debated in the U.S. Senate this week, calling it Ã¢??one of the most anti-liberty pieces of legislation of our lifetime.Ã¢??
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Defense Authorization Act will allow the U.S. military to declare national territory part of the "battlefield" in the Ã¢??War on Terror.Ã¢??
Authored by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, and Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, the act would Ã¢??permit the federal government to indefinitely detain American citizens on American soil, without charge or trial, at the discretion of the President,Ã¢?? Amash said in a Facebook posting.
Ã¢??It is destructive of our Constitution,Ã¢?? said Amash, one of five House Republicans to vote against the measure when it passed in the House on a 322-96 vote in May. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill this week.
Ã¢??The President should not have the authority to determine whether the Constitution applies to you, no matter what the allegations,Ã¢?? Amash said. Ã¢??Please urge your Senators to oppose these outrageous provisions.Ã¢??
Although the bill says Ã¢??the requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States,Ã¢?? Amash said the language is Ã¢??carefully crafted to mislead the public.
Ã¢??Note that it does not preclude U.S. citizens from being detained indefinitely, without charge or trial, it simply makes such detention discretionary,Ã¢?? he wrote.
Although the White House has threatened to veto the bill, Levin and other backers of the provision believe the administrationÃ¢??s concerns are overblown, according to The National Journal.
Levin argued President Barack Obama would retain the ability to determine whether suspects remain in civilian custody or be transferred to the military, as well as whether theyÃ¢??d be charged in civilian courts or before a military commission,Ã¢?? the Journal said.
Ã¢??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,Ã¢?? The Journal quoted Levin as saying.
"ThatÃ¢??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.Ã¢??