Massachusetts town vows to defy indefinite detention law
A small town in Massachusetts says it is “opting out” of a federal law that allows the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial.
The city of Northampton on Thursday passed a strongly worded resolution (PDF) to protest provisions of the federal government’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which even President Barack Obama said he had “serious reservations” about signing.
“WHEREAS, the indefinite detention of any person without trial violates the 5th and 6th amendments of the Constitution of the United States, Article III of the Constitution of the United States, and the Posse Comitatus Act,” the resolution stated.
The document went to request that public agencies “uphold the Constitution… when requested or authorized to infringe upon those Constitutionally guaranteed rights by federal agencies acting under detention powers granted by the NDAA.”
William Newman, the Director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Western Massachusetts, was at the meeting to support council members.
“We have a country based on laws and process and fairness,” he told WWLP. “This law is an absolute affront to those principles that make America a free nation.”
Northampton has a history of taking stands on civil rights issues, including a resolution passed against the USA PATRIOT Act 10 years ago.
“Four hundred thirty three cities and towns ended up passing resolutions,” Emma Roderick of the Bill Of Rights Defense Committee noted. “Eight states passed resolutions against the Patriot Act. And it just exploded as a big national issue.”
After re-approving the resolution in a second reading, the council will forward it to the president and their members of Congress.
Watch this video from WWLT, uploaded Feb. 17, 2012.