When a President of the United States waits to sign a bill into law on New Year’s Eve, it’s a sign that the President doesn’t want anyone to notice what he’s doing. The President knows that most Americans don’t pay attention to news on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, and is hoping that, by the time Americans get back to work, the story of the legislation that’s been approved will simply fade into the background.
Mr. President, it may be a holiday, but we’re still paying attention.
Today, Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act. The law grants the power to the U.S. federal government to seize Americans, within U.S. borders, and throw them into prison without criminal charge or criminal trial. Defenders of the law say that the NDAA does not require such imprisonments without due process to take place, but that’s small consolation. The point is that the NDAA gives the President and his aides in federal law enforcement with the power to imprison people without the legal protections that the Constitution requires, whenever they want to.
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution clearly forbid such imprisonment. The Constitution is the highest law of the land, higher than the NDAA. By signing the National Defense Authorization into law, Barack Obama is violating his Oath of Office, in which he promised to defend the Constitution from both foreign and domestic enemies.
The Constitution promises that everyone, American citizen or not, has the right to a fair trial, and to full due process of law, when accused of a crime. The National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by President Obama today attempts to take away those constitutional rights.
As it stands, all the federal government has to do in order to throw you into prison for the rest of your life is to merely accuse you of a crime. Without providing any evidence, the government will be able to keep you locked up for as long as it wants.
When he ran for President in 2008, Barack Obama promised to restore our constitutional rights and the rule of law. He has not done so. In fact, by signing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 into law, Obama has expanded George W. Bush’s attacks on the Constitution.