Liberal-progressives and staunch conservatives plan protests outside the offices of House representatives Duncan D. Hunter and Susan Davis and possibly others on Friday over detainee provisions in the 2012 defense budget legislation.
They will call for all members of Congress who voted for the legislation to resign. Opponents say the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is unconstitutional because of provisions they say allow for the military to arrest and indefinitely detain suspected terrorists even if they are US citizens or permanent residents.
"The 2012 NDAA authorizes the military to snatch American citizens from their homes and hold them indefinitely without charge," Dave Patterson, president of Ramona Forum, a liberal group, wrote in a letter to Patch a few days ago. "For this, Hunter, and others, need to be removed from office through legal means, or as we will demand on Feb. 3, to resign immediately."
Hunter and Davis voted for the NDAA, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 31, 2011. Hunter denies the allegations and states that the Act is not unconstitutional. Some of his supporters plan to stand up for him outside his El Cajon office during the protest. Davis' office is in San Diego. She is a Democrat, representing the 53rd Congressional District.
A version of the NDAA has been issued annually for 50 years. It's the document that outlines the military budget for the next year.
Some Americans are calling the 2012 version "treasonous."
At issue are sections devoted to counter terrorism. Opponents say changes in the NDAA extend broad authority for the military to arrest and detain US citizens indefinitely. The NDAA is attached to this story as a PDF. Click here to search for it by number (HR1540) on the House of Representatives website. The elements in question are contained in Sections 1021 and 1022.
President Obama released a statement when he signed the bill into law, saying that Sect. 1022 regarding US citizens was "unecessary" and "ill conceived" but that he was signing the entire bill anyway.
"The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it," Obama said. "In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists."
Hunter was on the committee which reviewed the House and Senate bills that laid the foundation for the NDAA. He defended the Act when he spoke at the Intermountain Republican Women Federated group in Ramona on Monday.
"We looked hard at this," he said. "There are two 'problems' that people say they have with it: indefinite detention of US citizens without due process and military authorization to do domestic arrests. These aren't true. As (Congressman) Tom Rooney of Florida said, 'You can't trump the Constitution. You can't just write something and pass it.'"
Hunter spoke of the opponents to the NDAA.
"(Congressman) Tom McClintock of Northern California—he's a great guy and a good friend—he was wrong on this. I study this a lot."
Hunter's comments lined up with a statement he released several weeks ago on the subject. His statement is attached to this story.
Some of the public aren't convinced.
"It's treasonous," one Ramona Tea'd supporter told Patch, unofficially, by phone. The group draws local supporters of the Tea Party. Some spoke to Patch unofficially, saying many Ramona Tea'd supporters are opposed to the NDAA, but they don't want to call for Hunter's resignation and so they will not join the protest.
The steering committee of Ramona Tea'd is holding off on giving an official public position at this time.
"We have chosen not to join the protest," Jim Tapscott, chairman of Ramona Tea'd told Patch. He said the steering committee will provide Hunter with a positional statement at a later date.
A Ramona resident, , is running against Hunter for the renumbered 50th Congressional District, and she intends to join the protest outside his El Cajon office. Linnell attends Ramona Tea'd gatherings.
"The Tea Party is made up of individuals," she told Patch. "Some will go (to the protest) and some will not."
Ramona Tea'd steering committee member Woody Kirkman gave his opinion to Patch, speaking as a private citizen and not representing any official steering committee position.
"It is infuriating that our Congress and President Obama continue to violate their oaths of office by intentionally passing unconstitutional legislation, especially after being put on notice with the 'House cleaning' 2010 elections," Kirkman said.
Patterson told Patch this week, "We are joining people all over the country demonstrating to kill the NDAA, at all Congressional offices. Our demonstrations will continue past the Feb. 3 event, next to the Democratic Caucus and convention in San Diego on Feb. 11. This is not a partisan effort."
Patterson wrote an earlier letter to Patch stating, "Clearly Duncan Hunter, along with nearly 100 percent of the House of Representatives and Senate, violated their oath to support the Constitution of the United States when they voted for the latest changes to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Patterson said the NDAA is part of "a long line of assaults on our liberties that provides an easy transition to Totalitarianism."
Supporters of the Occupy Movement are expected to also participate in the protests, which are expected to last from 1 to 4 p.m.
Patch contacted two Southern California law schools and a local constitutional attorney for legal analysis but did not get responses within the time constraints of this report.