It's in clear violation of our constitutional right to due process, yet our government continues to indefinitely detain people -- including American citizens -- with no charges and no trial. They have no opportunity to defend themselves and, in many cases, don't even know why they are imprisoned.

It's a topic that the Montana Legislature tackles today when it holds a hearing on House Bill 522 to prohibit state officials from cooperating with federal agents in this shameful practice. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer (R-Superior), will be heard at 8 a.m. in the House Judiciary Committee.

The sections of the National Defense Authorization Act allowing this practice are "dangerous detention provisions authorizing the president — and all future presidents — to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people, including United States citizens, captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield," says ACLU of Montana Public Policy Director Niki Zupanic in our letter supporting HB 522. "These provisions codify indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. This kind of sweeping detention power is completely at odds with our American values, violates the 5th and 6th Amendments to the United States Constitution, and corrodes our nation’s commitment to the rule of law, which generations have fought to preserve."

Our nation has a defined judicial process to address criminal acts. If our government suspects people have broken the law, it should take them to trial not hold them in prison for years.

Also today:
House Judiciary Committee 8 a.m., Room 137

  • HB 433 Generally revise laws regarding registration of sexual and violent offenders - Oppose
  • HB 505 Prohibit physician-assisted suicide - Oppose
  • HB 522 Prohibit state cooperation with federal agents regarding indefinite detention - Support

Senate Judiciary Committee 9 a.m., Room 303

  • SB 274 Revise attorney's fees to enforce constitutional rights - Support 
  • SB 259 Allow a court to vacate a conviction related to human trafficking - Support

Hearings and floor sessions can be accessed online.