by Chet Hardin
Last night, the El Paso County Board of Commissioners became the first such body in the state, and likely the nation, to pass a resolution in response to the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
The resolution specifically points to sections in the bill, which "as proposed, provide that in limited circumstances, an American citizen may be detained by our own United States government and by our Armed Forces, which detention could last, without trial until the end of the hostilities currently authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force."
This language, the resolution goes on to state, "jeopardize[s] the fundamental rights of American citizens to remain free from detention without due process and the right to habeas corpus in direct contravention of the guarantees of the Bill of Rights and the United States and Colorado Constitutions."
The El Paso County Sheriff's office has expressed support of the resolution.
As Commissioner Peggy Littleton, the resolution's sponsor points out, the debate surrounding the language in these sections is far from settled. Many will argue that this language will not allow the government to strip Americans of their right to due process, others disagree. Littleton says that her resolution is an effort to preempt any attempts to violate the rights of county residents.
But the best quote of the evening came from County Commissioner Sallie Clark: "I don't usually agree with the ACLU, but today I do."
And now, Sen. Mark Udall, whose attempt to amend the NDAA failed, explaining why he would vote for a bill that he has "reservations" about: