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Old 12-10-11, 08:35 AM
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Are We Losing our Constitutional Rights One by one?

Senate passes NDAA, tramples Constitution

In yet another assault on American citizens' liberties, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted yesterday to pass the $662 billion National Defense Authorization Act, which is not a bill that simply funds the military; it essentially voids that little part in the Constitution that guarantees American citizens the right to due process -- under the guise of fighting terrorism.

Critics of the bill point to Section 1031(c) which they say gives the federal government new powers to arrest American citizens without charge and hold them indefinitely without trial on just the suspicion of being a terrorist or linked to a terrorist organization. Some have questioned whether or not it does give authority to arrest U.S. citizens without charge or trial, but Sen. Lindsey Graham made it clear on the Senate floor that “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”

According to a New York Times article, Graham has also said that citizens suspected of terrorism are opening themselves up "to imprisonment and death," and added, "And when they say, 'I want my lawyer,' you tell them: 'Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer. You are an enemy combatant, and we are going to talk to you about why you joined Al Qaeda.'"

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Township), called the bill "one of the most anti-liberty pieces of legislation of our lifetime.”

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) fought hard to remove Section 1031 from the bill, but failed to receive enough support for his amendment. He said, “Should we err today and remove some of the most important checks on state power in the name of fighting terrorism, well, then the terrorists have won.”

Two attempts to amend the offending portion of the bill were voted down, and the NDAA passed with 93 percent of the Senate's vote. The bill will now proceed to a conference committee of senators and representatives to work out differences in the versions of the bill each chamber approved. It will then land on President Obama's desk, who has threatened to veto it, but critics are skeptical.

It should also be noted that one of the senators who voted in favor of the bill because, as she said, "America is a battlefield," Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), is one of about fifteen names that Mitt Romney is considering as a potential running mate, should he win the GOP nomination.

Only seven of 100 U.S. senators had the courage to uphold their oath of office and vote against this bill; one of them thankfully came from the state of Utah. It probably won't surprise Utahns to learn that it wasn't Senator Orrin Hatch, now in his sixth term. Senator Mike Lee, newly elected in 2010 for being an advocate of our nation's founding constitutional principles, spoke out against this section of the bill. KSCG quoted Sen. Lee before the passage of the bill as saying, “Congress should make absolutely clear that the U.S. government does not have authority to detain an American citizen indefinitely without trial and proper constitutional process." Unfortunately for all Americans, Congress chose to do the opposite.

The seven senators who supported the Constitution and voted against this act are below:
Sen. Thomas Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Sen. Thomas Coburn (R-OK)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT)

Senate passes NDAA, tramples Constitution - Salt Lake City Independent |
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