Republicans Uphold Gov’s Right to Indefinitely Detain US Citizens

ndaaIn December 2012 President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, a bill that is responsible for allocating the budget and expenditures of the Department of Defense. While the bill’s title and purpose are relatively banal sounding, Obama’s approval of the National Defense Authorization Act marked what is arguably the largest blight against the U.S. Constitution in American history.

The NDAA, among other things, granted the United States government the authority to indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or trial. The president has approved four different versions of the bill over the past four years, all of which have included the provision that ostensibly nullifies habeas corpus. The most recent version of the bill for 2015 passed the house on May 7, 2014.

The NDAA sparked bipartisan outrage and was heavily criticized from people on both sides of the aisle. Notably, the ACLU denounced it as “dangerous” and Rand Paul condemned its passing, calling it an “abomination.”

Many on the left have routinely criticized the GOP for their categorical obstruction of legislation supported by the president. Unfortunately, the NDAA is not one of them. When Democratic congressman Adam Smith proposed an amendment to eliminate the government’s power to detain Americans without cause, House Republicans almost ubiquitously voted against it, supporting the president’s right to detain Americans without cause or trial.

H.R. 4435 which would “eliminate indefinite military detention of any person detained under AUMF authority in the U.S., its territories, or possessions, by providing for immediate transfer to trial and proceedings by a court” failed a house vote this May. The bill was defeated 53% to 44%. Only 15 House Republicans voted to support Smith’s legislation to revive habeas corpus.

While Adam Smith failed to comment on his proposed legislation, the Washington Congressman has been very vocal in his condemnation of the NDAA.

“The Republican party is always talking about freedom from government intrusion…this is a law that gives the president the power to lock you up and take away your basic freedom without due process. It strikes me that nothing could be more fundamental to those basic freedoms from government intrusion that we always hear about from the other side of the isle than this issue” said Smith to the house.

In fact, it seems that the president has received more backlash against the NDAA from his supporters than he has from his critics. According to Salon lawsuits from journalist Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg against this provision were “aggressively fought at every turn by the president’s attorneys.” The historically Obama-loving New York Times ran a scathing Editorial that called Obama’s support of the bill “a complete cave-in, one that reinforces the impression of a fumbling presidency.”

It is ironic to note that Representatives from Texas, the Lone Star State that values freedom and individual liberty over everything else, almost unanimously shot down Smith’s bill, while lawmakers in California banned the NDAA entirely almost a year ago.

Listed below are Texas’ elected officials that voted to support the government’s right to deprive Americans of their right to due process. A full list of United State congressmen and how they voted on the amendment can be found here.

Louie Gohmert (R) TX 1st

Ted Poe (R) TX 2nd

Sam Johnson (R) TX 3rd

Ralph Hall (R) TX 4th

Jeb Hensarling (R) TX 5th

Joe Barton (R) TX 6th

John Culberson (R) TX 7th

Kevin Brady (R) TX 8th

Michael McCaul (R) TX 10th

Michael Conaway (R) TX 11th

Kay Granger (R) TX 12th

Mac Thornberry (R) TX 13th

Randy Weber (R) TX 14th

Bill Flores (R) TX 17th

Randy Neugebauer (R) TX 19th

Lamar Smith (R) TX 21st

Pete Olson TX 22nd

Kenny Marchant (R) TX 24th

Roger Williams (R) TX 25th

Michael Burgess (R) TX 26th

Blake Farenthold (R) TX 27th

Henry Cuellar (D) TX 28th

Gene Green (D) TX 29th

John Carter (R) TX 31st

Pete Sessions TX 32nd

About the author: Patrick Kane

Patrick is a political activist based out of Boulder Colorado. He is currently employed by several of Colorado's preeminent think tanks and has worked in the liberty movement since he was fourteen.

View all articles by Patrick Kane
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