Thursday Feb. 14, 2013
Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers is speaking out again — this time in favor of a proposal at the Indiana statehouse meant to nullify a controversial provision of the federal National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.
The Indiana measure, Senate Bill 400, would prohibit police and sheriff’s departments in the state from aiding the U.S. armed forces in “the investigation, prosecution or detention” of anyone under the NDAA’s “indefinite detention provision.” (Look here at the Indiana General Assembly website for a copy of the bill itself.)
The NDAA provision has come under fire from conservatives and civil liberties advocates who worry that the indefinite detention provision could be used against U.S. citizens, resulting in their imprisonment without due process. The NDAA section in question is ostensibly geared to Al Qaeda and the group’s allies. (Look at this Huffington Post article looking at the ongoing federal court battle over the matter.)
In his testimony this week, Rogers — who spoke in favor of gun rights late last month on the CNN television program “Anderson Cooper 360″ (look here) — suggested the NDAA provision was an instance of the federal government overstepping its authority. Here’s what Rogers said in a press release Monday issued by the Indiana Senate Republican Caucus (look here):
“As a sheriff who believes strongly in the constitution, I support SB 400 to protect the constitutional mandate of habeas corpus and due process, fundamentals of our criminal justice system and liberties. The federal government is stepping outside the bounds of our rule of law, and we need to take a stand. I applaud Senator (Jim) Banks’ leadership on this important issue, and I encourage the legislature to pass this vital piece of legislation.”
S.B. 400, authored by Banks, a Columbia City Republican, received unanimous support in the Indiana Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law, according to the Republican caucus press release. Now it goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Here’s what Banks said:
“Given recent federal policies with vague preservations, I feel it necessary that Indiana law expressly state it will not support unconstitutional actions. If Washington laws do not adequately defend our personal liberties, it’s our duty as a state to be proactive in ensuring these freedoms are protected. That’s what my legislation will accomplish.”
Rogers, with strong tea party support has previously voiced concerns about the feds doing more than what he thinks they should. He aided an Elkhart County dairy farmer who felt the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was unfairly targeting him (look here) and belongs to the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (look here), formed in part to counter what group members see as federal overreach.
Former Libertarian Party U.S. House hopeful Joe Ruiz interviewed Rogers, and in a blog Ruiz posted online Wednesday (look here), Rogers defended his involvement in things like the S.B. 400 debate. Here’s what Rogers said:
“I recently went to the statehouse to testify on behalf of S.B. 400. Some people say, ‘You’re the sheriff of Elkhart County. Why go to Anderson Cooper or Indianapolis?’ But I realize that so much of what is done in Washington and so much of what is done at the statehouse is going to make an impact locally. And as an elected official I feel like I have to be involved in the conversation. You get so many officials that don’t want to make waves. Now I’m not out for a fight, but I just know that so many issues — take my recent involvement in the Second Amendment discussions — those things are going to have an impact on someone like me working in law enforcement.”
Tim Vandenack is a reporter at the Elkhart Truth newspaper in Elkhart, Ind., www.etruth.com. He can be reached at email@example.com or 574-296-5884. Visit him/subscribe to him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack.