‘Tenther’ Sen. Kelli Ward wants to ‘nullify’ the NSA


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Screenshot-11The Neo-Confederate Birthers-Birchers-Secessionists of the Tea Party are gearing up for the next session of the Arizona Legislature with yet another state sovereignty and nullification of federal law measure.

These Neo-Confederate dead-enders just never give up their long discredited theories of interposition, nullification and secesssion in their never-ending insurrection against the federal government.

Sen. Kelli Ward (R-Lake Havasu City), who last session sponsored model legislation for the Firearms Freedom Act and Federal Gun Laws Nullification, this session plans to introduce model legislation to nullify the capabilities of the National Security Agency (NSA) in Arizona — you know, the spy agency that keeps Americans safe from the Hezbollah Muslim terrorists and Chicoms these same paranoid teabaggers believe are invading the U.S. across the Mexican border.

The Arizona Capital Times (subscription required) reports Senator hopes to curtail NSA activities in Arizona:

Arizona may be the first state to consider legislation designed to hinder the National Security Agency’s ability to spy within its borders.

Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, announced Monday she’ll introduce legislation next session that would “nullify” the NSA’s capabilities in Arizona by encouraging state agencies, counties, municipalities and local law enforcement to refuse to cooperate with NSA operations.

Information collected by the NSA in Arizona without a warrant would be banned from use by law enforcement and deemed inadmissible in court, Ward said.

Agencies and companies would face penalties if they aid the NSA and state funding would be cut off in the case of agencies and municipalities.  Companies that, for example, provide water or electricity to NSA facilities in Arizona would be banned from contracting with the state at any level of government.

Ward said the 4th Amendment Protection Act, model legislation pushed by constitutional-rights organization the Tenth Amendment Center, isn’t meant to punish local governments and state agencies, but is more of a disincentive to the NSA if it wants to conduct surveillance in Arizona.

I would dispute the "constitutional-rights organization" characterization of what this "Tenther" organization is about. It promotes state sovereignty ("states' rights"), interposition and nullifcation of federal laws, theories long discredited since the end of the Civil War and the adoption of the 14th Amendment. Not to mention the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

Ward, who last session unsuccessfully proposed a bill to protect 2nd Amendment rights in Arizona by ignoring certain federal gun laws, was an obvious choice as sponsor.

Ward’s 2013 gun bill attempted to nullify the enforcement of federal gun laws in Arizona.  It ran afoul of a bevy of constitutional concerns when analyzed by the Senate’s attorney, who determined the bill would have violated the Supremacy Clause, interstate commerce regulations and the separation of powers under the U.S. Constitution.

Ward said the NSA’s actions are “a definite violation” of the 4th Amendment, and that the state would have strong legal ground to resist assisting the agency in any way.

“If you look at this bill and you look at the legal basis for this bill, we’re on solid footing,” Ward said. “The Supreme Court has made it clear that the state doesn’t have to help the federal government implement its programs.”

In what cave has Sen. Ward been living in? The particular spy program that she complains of began with the Bush administration. President Bush signed a secret order in 2001 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in the United States, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying. The New York Times held off publishing its story about the NSA domestic spying program for over a year (until after the 2004 election) after Bush administration officials said its disclosure would harm national security. So what did Congress do when it learned of this illegal domestic spying program?

In 2007, Congress passed the FISA Amendments "retroactively" authorizing what was an illegal domestic spying program, and granted immunity to the telecom companies that cooperated with the federal government. Congress approves President Bush's spy bill – CNN.com:

Congress yielded to President Bush on Saturday and approved legislation to temporarily expand government's power to conduct electronic surveillance without a court order in tracking foreign suspects.

* * *

"Protecting America is our most solemn obligation," Bush said earlier in the day in urging Congress to send him the bill so he could sign it into law.

* * *

The measure would authorize the National Security Agency to intercept without a court order communications between people in the United States and foreign targets overseas.

Here is a helpful Timeline of NSA Domestic Spying| Electronic Frontier Foundation, which documents "all the credible accounts and information of the NSA's domestic spying program found in the media, congressional testimony, books, and court actions." The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a legitimate 4th Amendment privacy organization, not a wingnut "Tenther" organization.

So when Sen. Ward says "the legal basis for this bill [is] on solid footing,”she doesn't know what the hell she is talking about. Legislation has been passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president; the FISA Court nominally oversees the program; and the U.S. Supreme Court has passed on appeals to strike down the program as unconstitutional, although EFF keeps trying to get a case before the Court.

Howard Fischer adds in his reporting, Ariz. legislator wants curtail NSA presence in state:

The measure, if approved, would make Arizona the first state in the nation to impose such restrictions. But it might not be the last: The same plan is also being marketed to legislators nationwide by the OffNow Coalition, a group of organizations specifically formed to battle NSA spying.

The OffNow Coalition appears to be a collection of fringe groups. Join the Coalition! | Nullify NSA!Nullify NSA! (nullification is your first clue).

What Ward said she is particularly trying to attack is what she calls the indiscriminate scooping up of data.

* * *

“I heard that the federal government is able to possibly turn on your camera on your phone or turn on the camera on your computer without your knowing it,” Ward said.

And the advice given, she said, included turning off the Internet on devices when they're not being used and not to have your phone or computer in a private area.

“I think my whole entire house is private,” she said. “I shouldn't have to just not have my phone in the bathroom or the bedroom.”

Ward said the last piece of advice was put a piece of tape over the camera lens and microphone of your cell phone and computer to block the images and muffle the sound.

We are into paranoid wingnut conspiracy theories now! The government has satellites that can read your thoughts Sen. Ward, don't forget your tinfoil hat!

"Ward acknowledged that while she believes the NSA's actions violate Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, they may, in fact, be authorized by Congress." Yeah, lady, see above.

"But Ward said that does not preclude the state from throwing up whatever legal roadblocks it can." Yes, it does. The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over national security matters, and the supremacy clause of the Constitution preempts any state laws to the contrary. Ward's bogus "Tenther" theories of interposition and nullification have long been discredited.

Sen. Ward "said the agency is acting illegally in collecting any data on U.S. citizens without a specific warrant." To which Howard Fischer had to point out to her that:

A declassified opinion of a secret court set up under the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act has upheld as constitutional the NSA collecting data on phone records. The court ruled that gathering the data is justified as long as the government can show it is relevant to authorized investigations into known and unknown terrorists who may be in this country.

And the court said the government had to show only “reasonable grounds” to believe the records are relevant, a standard far more lax than what police and prosecutors generally need for search warrants.

Stick to being an osteopath, Ms. Ward. You are definitely not cut out to be a lawyer or a legislator. Hopefully you will not be back in 2015.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. Way to ignore the Electronic Frontier Foundation citation, troll. For your information, not that it matters to you, I fought this legislation in Congress at the time it was under consideration. I’m guessing you did not. So fuck off.

  2. Great job standing up against civil liberties and for government secrecy! Hitler truly would have loved a pathetic sycophant like you.

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