Press Release: ACLU SoCal lauds the historic passage of the California Liberty Preservation Act (AB 351)

LOS ANGELES–The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) commends Governor Jerry Brown for signing into law The California Liberty Preservation Act (AB 351) yesterday. AB 351 is a clear rejection of the provisions in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Agreement (“NDAA”) that authorize the President to order the military to indefinitely imprison any person without charge or trial.

NDAA is a federal law specifying the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defense. Each year’s act also includes other provisions, some related to civil liberties.  In December 2011, President Obama signed the 2012 NDAA, codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. The NDAA’s dangerous detention provisions would authorize the president — and all future presidents — to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield.  The law has already been challenged in several lawsuits.

AB 351 puts California on record as opposing the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA, and prohibits state cooperation with federal officials in effecting indefinite military detention of persons within the State of California.  The bill received overwhelming support; AB 351 was passed unanimously by the California Senate and passed by the California Assembly with a vote of 71-1, sending a clear message to the federal government that California will not participate in the indefinite military detention of civilians without charge or trial.

“There’s growing recognition across the political spectrum that betraying the core principles of democracy in the name of safety doesn’t advance freedom, but hinders it. 

Californians have not forgotten the tragedy that was Japanese American internment,” said ACLU SoCal Senior Staff Attorney Peter Bibring.  “Our politics may be divided on some issues, but the nearly unanimous passage of this bill shows indefinite military detention without trial is contrary to the common values of all Americans.”

In advancing the bill, ACLU SoCal has worked side-by-side with the Tenth Amendment Center, the CA Republican Liberty Caucus, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, among others, in opposition to the indefinite military detention of persons without charge or trial.  “Saying no to indefinite detention is a great first step towards stopping these unconstitutional acts,” said Michael Boldin, Executive Director of the Tenth Amendment Center. “Rosa Parks proved it —saying no can change the world.”

Since the NDAA passed Congress two years ago, twenty states have introduced similar “anti-NDAA” legislation, which has also been enacted in Virginia and Alaska.

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