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A legislative plan that would protect Virginia residents from the warrantless detention many critics have charged is contained in a federal budget plan has been adopted by the legislature and forwarded to the governor.
“By overwhelming votes (37-1 and 96-4), members of both houses of the Virginia General Assembly now have expressed themselves in their unmistakable understanding of the inviolate protections of our civil rights under the constitutions of the United States and Virginia,” said state Delegate Bob Marshall, the sponsor of the bill. “I urge Gov. [Bob] McDonnell to acknowledge this outpouring of grassroots and legislation support of HB 1160, and I urge him to add his signature to this vital protection of our sacred liberties as citizens of Virginia and the nation,” he said.
The target of the state plan is the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012, which was signed by Obama Dec. 31. 2011. Among its sections is 1021, “which purports to authorize the president of the United States to use the armed forces of the United States to detain American citizens who the president suspects are or have been substantial supports of al-Qaida, the Taliban, or associated forces, and to hold such citizens indefinitely,” according to an analysis of the federal law.
“The writ of Habeas Corpus in our Constitution (Article 1, Section 9) is what separates America from dictatorships around the world. Giving anyone the unfettered power to ‘detain’ American citizens without trial, counsel, specific charges, or a public record of such proceedings is unwise, imprudent and at fundamental odds with the assumptions of our government and legal traditions,” Marshall explained.