President Barrack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act in 2012 that allows the federal government to indefinitely detain a United States citizen on U.S. soil without trial or charges if the person has “substantial ties” to a terrorist organization.
This goes against everything that America stands for: Liberty and justice for all.
More specifically, it violates what our great-grandfathers, grandfathers, parents and we have fought to uphold — the U.S. Constitution.
The Fifth Amendment of our Constitution guarantees that no citizen can “be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”
Deprivation of these rights is exactly what the National Defense Authorization Act seeks to do.
Without a warrant, or charges, our neighbors could be arrested and spirited off to a detention facility. They would have no rights, no justice and no chance to prove their innocence. And in a time when the word “terrorist” has many vague definitions, this is truly frightening power.
While it is true that terrorists have breached our borders, and that some terrorists are homegrown on American soil, so is it true that we must rise above McCarthyism-like fearmongering and allow for the just and righteous due process of law.
So, when the Michigan Senate approved Senate Bill 94 earlier this month, we rejoiced. Democrats and Republicans both joined together to unanimously stand up to federal bullies. They chose to uphold our U.S. Constitution and right to due process of law.
They voted on a bill that would prohibit the Michigan National Guard and Michigan law enforcement officers from detaining a U.S. citizen without a warrant or charges. While the feds can still come in and do their worst, our Michigan brethren will not be a part of it.
There are two hurdles remaining, however, before Michigan would join the other states and communities that have attempted to take the power away from the Act. The Michigan House must approve this measure, and it must be signed into law by the governor.
Call your representative and let them know that we prefer that justice have a chance. Let them know that we will not silently stand by while our citizens are taken into the night. Make it clear to them that we are standing up for our Constitution and our God-given rights of liberty and justice for all.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.