June 1, 2020

What Is The Insurrection Act?

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The Insurrection Act was used to declare a state of emergency, such as mandatory school segregation, and most recently President George H.W. Bush used the law to quell the violent riots in Los Angeles in 1992. It shall apply whenever unlawful obstruction, in combination with assembly or rebellion, renders the enforcement of United States law impossible. Thus, it empowers the president to use force against such insurgencies or obstructions. If the invocation of this powerful law is combined with the president’s recent declaration of a national emergency, it could be clear that President Trump takes the issue of immigration absolutely, very seriously. Trump appears to be planning to change that, as he has also hinted at withholding federal funds from sanctuary cities that do not comply with his immigration mandate.

Abraham Lincoln used this act to spark the Civil War in 1861 and send Union troops to the Battle of Gettysburg, the first battle of the US Civil War. The president can send troops, and governors can call on the federal government to send active troops in the event of civil unrest to help with widespread protests in US cities. This is due to the federal Posse Comitatus Act, which generally prohibits the use of federal troops in the event of civil unrest, but there is an exception that requires a special request from the state’s governor. So far, state governors have requested active-duty troops to support them, but have relied instead on the state’s active-duty force. Some governors prefer National Guards because they can carry out law enforcement duties in their states. The Posse Comitatois Act cannot be violated.

Cotton has urged Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would allow the state’s governor and legislature to require the use of active troops in the event of civil unrest in their state. The Ins and outs Act was first enforced in 1992, when President George H.W. Bush sent active-duty troops to California to respond to the unrest following the assassination of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). President Donald Trump is considering invoking the Insurrection Act, a 213-year-old federal law that would allow him to deploy active U.S. troops to respond to protests in cities across the country, according to a New York Times report. By contrast, President Barack Obama deployed active troops after the attacks of September 11, 2001, though the crisis may have abated, he refrained from a similar act in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Trump has warmed to the idea of using the troop deployment law, first passed in 1807, as his frustration grows as protests continue following the death of Philando Castile, a black man from Minneapolis who was killed by a white police officer.
Such weakness became apparent in February, when Trump invoked the National Emergencies Act to raise funds that Congress had specifically denied for the construction of the Trump International Hotel in New York City. The Trump administration is considering invoking the Insurrection Act to give federal troops the authority to detain and deport undocumented immigrants in the United States, essentially acting as immigration and customs enforcement agents. The latest such loophole is the embedding of emergency powers that could allow the president to turn the military into his own immigration police force. In a briefing with reporters Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer left open whether the president could invoke the act. The White House did not respond to a request for comment on this article. Governors can call on the federal government to send active duty troops to help with the widespread protests that have hit US cities such as Ferguson, Missouri and Los Angeles in recent days.

So far, no governor has asked active-duty troops for assistance, relying instead on the active duty of the states. The insurgency law has been restored, and the president can invoke active troops at the governor’s request.
Nonetheless, Congress amended the Insurgency Act in 2006 to create enforcement laws to restore public order. Since then, the president has had the power to authorize the use of active troops to enforce the law by the states and the federal government.

One consequence of this policy shift is a renewed interest in the law of insurrection, which is at the heart of the article. The Statute has caused controversy because it is arguably an unwarranted extension of the power of the President.
As you know, the Insurrection Act is the first time the president has relied on the authority to deploy troops domestically to respond to civil unrest. There is no precedent for such an extension of the Posse Comitatus Act, which has historically limited the use of active troops in the event of civil war. The Ins Insurrection Act was a direct result of this, as was the fact that there has been a marked increase in civil unrest in recent years, owing to the election of Donald Trump.
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