FAMU Law Blog

Law Review Online Article

The National Defense Authorization Act: An Erosion of the Constitution?

Written by: Denise Cespedes

Over a decade has passed since terrorists violently attacked our nation and forever altered the life of every American. While the trauma of that day has eased with time, the tragic events that transpired on that unsuspecting September morning set into motion a series of unprecedented changes to U.S. counterterrorism efforts. The most recent change occurred on January 1st 2012, when President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA is a defense bill containing critical provisions outlining the transfer of authority regarding suspected terrorists from law enforcement to the military and it has quickly become one of the most hotly debated pieces of legislation since the Patriot Act. The provisions at issue allow for the indefinite detention of any individual detained under the Act including American citizens on U.S. soil. Those who oppose the Act argue that America’s most sacred liberties are at stake while others fear that America would be vulnerable to another attack without these proactive measures. The NDAA has without question rallied legislators, political commentators, civil and human rights groups alike to set the stage for what may prove to be one of the most significant political discussions regarding constitutional rights and the steps our country has taken in the name freedom. 

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