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California governor signs law prohibiting state assistance with indefinite detention

California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] on Tuesday signed into law a bill [text] that prohibits state employees and agencies, as well as law enforcement and the California National Guard, from providing support for the indefinite detention of a person within California. Specifically, the law states that those individuals or bodies shall not participate in any investigation or detainment authorized by either the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) [text, PDF] or Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) [materials], both federal statutes. The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California [advocacy website] praised the legislation [LAT report] as demonstrative of the common values of all Americans, reflecting on the regrettable history of California's Japanese internment camps [JURIST news archive] during World War II.

Section 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA affirms the authority of the president under the AUMF to detain indefinitely any "person who was a part of or substantially supported al Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces." President Barack Obama signed the NDAA into law [JURIST report] on December 31, 2011. Upon signing, he noted [statement], "I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation." Controversy surrounding the NDAA has escalated since it was struck down [JURIST report] by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] in September of last year. In December Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg denied a request to block the law after challengers of the law appealed [JURIST reports] to the Supreme Court to block its enforcement. The district court's order striking down the law was stayed [JURIST report] by the Second Circuit just after the district's ruling in September. The Second Circuit then extended [JURIST report] the stay until it could officially rule on the issue.

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