Schuitmaker votes to uphold constitutional protections

For Immediate Release:
March 6, 2013

Contact: Derek Sova

Schuitmaker votes to uphold constitutional protections

LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan Senate voted Tuesday to pass legislation that would prohibit state law enforcement agencies and the National Guard from participating in the unlawful investigation or detention of U.S. citizens.

Senate Bill 94 would prohibit state agencies, local governments and the Michigan National Guard from aiding the U.S. Armed Forces in the investigation, prosecution or detention of a person if such aid would violate the U.S. Constitution, Michigan Constitution, or other state law.

“This bill guarantees that Michigan law enforcement agencies and the Michigan National Guard will spend their time protecting Michigan residents and not detaining them in violation of their rights,” said Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “Warrantless arrests and indefinite detention of U.S. citizens is unacceptable, and this bill sends a message that Michigan will not tolerate its state agencies participating in those activities.”     

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, sponsored the legislation.

“Today, the Michigan Senate stands historically with the senators from 1855,” said Jones.  “In 1855, Michigan stood against the federal fugitive slave act. The liberty law was passed and gave escaped slaves habeas corpus and trial by jury.  Today with SB 94 we are saying that if the federal government grabs a citizen off the street and holds him against his will without charges that we will not assist with that unconstitutional act.”

“I fully support efforts to protect our people from terrorist attacks, but we cannot sacrifice our freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution to an over-aggressive federal government,” Schuitmaker added. “Every U.S. citizen is granted protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to due process and a speedy trial. If a citizen is suspected of being a threat to our safety, there are already processes in place for dealing with that.” 

Under Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, the President is given authority to instruct the U.S. Armed Forces to detain certain persons under the laws of war. This section could be interpreted to mean a U.S. citizen living in the United States.

Senate Bill 94 passed unanimously and has been sent to the House of Representatives.