PHOENIX — Republican lawmakers concerned that Arizona citizens could be held indefinitely without trial passed a measure on Tuesday attempting to block U.S. wartime law.
Sen. Judy Burges, R-Sun City West, sponsored the measure that would prevent federal, state and local authorities from arresting, capturing or executing citizens under federal wartime law.
But Paul Bender, a professor of constitutional law at Arizona State University, said the state has no authority to block the federal government from arresting someone.
Arizona Republicans annually push legislation to try and limit what they call federal overreach. Last year conservative lawmakers attempted to take control of the state's federal lands and block state funding for executive orders and federal policy directives.
Bender said proposals such as Senate Bill 1437 violate the Constitution's supremacy clause, which grants the federal government legal precedence over states.
"The Arizona government cannot stop the military from doing this because Arizona doesn't like it," he said. "The Arizona Legislature all the time it sort of puts itself in the position to determine if something is constitutional and it just doesn't have the authority. That's not its role."
Burges said she's standing up for people across the country by attempting to limit what is allowed under the National Defense Authorization Act and the Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
She said the federal government's broad definition of domestic terrorism allows for indefinite detention and execution of American citizens.
"We deserve to have the full protections under that Constitution and our rights as citizens of the state," she said.
The Senate federalism committee passed the Senate Bill 1437 on a 4-2 vote. It now undergoes a standard constitutional review before going to a Senate vote.
Former Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a similar measure in 2012 that tried to stop state employees from enforcing parts of the NDAA.
The Senate federalism committee also passed a measure by Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, to build on current law to prevent the reclassification of state trust lands for conservation from unreasonable limiting the use or enjoyment of private lands.