Maryland Republicans Take On The NSA

What a sweet story!

From US News: “Lights Out for NSA? Maryland Lawmakers Push to Cut Water, Electricity to Spy Agency Headquarters.”

The National Security Agency’s headquarters in Ft. Meade, Md., will go dark if a cohort of Maryland lawmakers has its way.

Eight Republicans in the 141-member Maryland House of Delegates introduced legislation Thursday that would deny the electronic spy agency “material support, participation or assistance in any form” from the state, its political subdivisions or companies with state contracts.

The bill would deprive NSA facilities water and electricity carried over public utilities, ban the use of NSA-derived evidence in state courts and prevent state universities from partnering with the NSA on research.

State or local officials ignoring the NSA sanctions would be fired, local governments refusing to comply would lose state grant funds and companies would be forever barred from state contracts.

The bill was filed as emergency legislation and requires support of three-fifths of delegates to pass. It was referred to the chamber’s judiciary committee.

NSA facilities in Maryland use a massive amount of water and electricity, the supply of which might be jeopardized by the legislation.

Maryland is a thoroughly blue state as far as I can tell. That makes this move by Republicans all the more brilliant in my opinion. Since Democrats always complain that Republicans aren’t being bipartisan enough, here is a bipartisan issue that should appeal to both parties. But if the Democrats rebel and side with Obama’s domestic spying program, then the Republicans will have the pleasure of exposing faux liberalism.

My preference would be that the Democrats side with privacy over power and support the bill. The role of states is to protect their people from tyranny. States, in our system, are sovereign. This should be especially obvious in the case of Maryland, one of the original thirteen jurisdictions that rebelled against the British crown. Maryland is older than the Federal Government and, thus, older than the NSA. Maryland does not derive it’s authority from the Federal Government. (Of course, under the Constitution all states are equal; so this could be said about any state. But the point, again, is that this is especially self-evident in the case of Maryland, because it was one of the original states.)

Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment specifically reserves rights to the states and the people that are not enumerated as powers belonging to the Federal Government. Since the Constitution never empowers the Federal government to engage in warrantless searches, it is obviously up to the states to protect their people.

I hope and pray the Maryland legislature steps up.