CAIR-Maryland testimony on the Maryland Liberty Preservation Act of 2013 (HB 0558)

Written Testimony of Dr. Mudusar Raza

Executive Director of the

Council on American-Islamic Relations Maryland

On

H.B. 0558, The Maryland Liberty Preservation Act of 2013

Submitted to the

House Health & Government Operations Committee

Maryland General Assembly

 

Testimony Prepared by: Dr. Mudusar Raza & Robert McCaw

Council on American Islamic Relations Maryland

Phone: (301) 660-7640

Email: [email protected]

Website: http://md.cair.com

 

Chairman Hammen and Ranking Member Elliott, the Council on American-Islamic Relations Maryland (CAIR Maryland) respectfully submits this testimony in demonstration of our strong support for H.B. 0558, the Maryland Liberty Preservation Act of 2013.

I respectfully ask that my entire statement be entered into the record of this hearing.

CAIR Maryland commends Delegate Dwyer and the ten co-sponsors of the Maryland Liberty Preservation Act, and urges the House Health & Government Operations Committee to approve the act without delay.

This act would essentially prohibit an agency of the State or a member of the Maryland National Guard or the Maryland Defense Force, acting on official State duty, to knowingly aid an agency of the United States in the detention of a person in accordance with sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA).

Signed into law on December 31, 2011, the NDAA authorizes the U.S. military to carry out domestic anti-terrorism operations and indefinitely detain Americans and others suspected of terrorism without charge or trial.

While proponents of sections 1021 and 1022 maintain that they are indispensable to national security, CAIR Maryland and the civil rights community believe that these provisions come at the expense of the rights, liberties, and values that this country was founded upon and has been proud to uphold for over two centuries.

Simply put, it is unconstitutional for our military to act as a police force, empowered to hold Americans indefinitely, based on suspicion alone, without the right to trial or even to hear the charges brought against them. Since the NDAA was signed into law, Congress has been unable or unwilling to repeal sections 1021 and 1022 or address the issue of unlawful indefinite detention.

It is now up to the Maryland Assembly to adopt the Maryland Liberty Preservation Act, thereby preserving the due process rights of all persons within the U.S., or at least those within its state borders. No agency of the state or member of the Maryland National Guard or the Maryland Defense Force, acting on official State duty, should be required to contradict the U.S. Constitution.

In review of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA:

  • Section 1021 vaguely endorses the claimed presidential authority to indefinitely detain Americans as enemy combatants under "existing law," i.e. the Authorization to Use Military Force Act.
  • Section 1021 explicitly allows for the indefinite detention of Americans captured abroad, as well as foreigners.
  • Section 1022 authorizes the indefinite military detention of Americans. While this section does not require the military to detain U.S. citizens, the authority or option to do so remains.
  • The power to indefinitely detain individuals under the NDAA remains "until the end of hostilities" -- an indefinite and undetermined length of time.
  • Furthermore, CAIR Maryland believes that the NDAA is unconstitutional as it disregards the Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process for "all persons" and the Sixth Amendment right to a fair and speedy trial.

There are a number of good, sound, constitutional reasons to support the Maryland Liberty Preservation Act:

  • The U.S. Constitution already provides all the necessary tools to safeguard the nation from enemies both foreign and domestic. Those who would attempt to do our nation harm should be arrested without hesitation, charged, tried, and, if convicted, punished to the full extent of the law. Those who are falsely accused of supporting such hostilities rely on the Constitution to protect them.
  • States are supposed to be a check against the federal government's power, not expand it. Many leaders in the Maryland Assembly and the civil rights community believe that granting such detention powers is an overreach of the President's authority.
  • The NDAA leaves too much to presidential interpretation. President Obama's signing statement already suggests that he believes his administration has the authority to indefinitely detain Americans -- only that he chooses to not use it. No guarantee exists that future administrations will not interpret the law to do so.
  • It is unconstitutional for the military to arrest and indefinitely detain all persons inside the U.S. To deny any person the right to due process in the name of national security makes our nation less free, but not more secure.

Once again, CAIR Maryland commends Delegate Dwyer for introducing the Maryland Liberty Preservation Act, and urges the House Health & Government Operations Committee to protect our rights and civil liberties by approving the act without delay.

CAIR Maryland Analysis of Section 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012

National Defense Authorization Act of 2012

Public Law No: 112-81

TITLE X--GENERAL PROVISIONS

Subtitle D--Counterterrorism

Sec. 1022. Military custody for foreign al-Qaeda terrorists.

Subparagraph (b)(1)

NDAA-excerpt 

Section 1022 of the NDAA authorizes the indefinite military detention of Americans. While under this section the requirement to detain a person in military custody does not apply to U.S. citizens, CAIR legal counsel believes that the authority or option to do so remains.

 

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