President Donald Trump on Monday threatened to send the United States military into states if the unrest that has swept multiple U.S. cities continues to grow, citing a 213-year-old law, the Insurrection Act of 1807, as his legal authority.
“If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” the President said Monday evening. He announced he had already authorized thousands of troops to deploy to Washington D.C. in response to days of increasing unrest in the city.
Over the past week, protests in response to the murder of George Floyd — a 46-year-old black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 — have swept the U.S.. While most protests have been peaceful, some demonstrations have grown violent, and governors have already activated over 17,000 National Guard members in at least 23 states, according to the National Guard Bureau. The National Guard has also been deployed to Washington D.C., in addition to the military troops who arrived in the capital city Monday night.
Washington D.C. is a federal district, meaning the president has authority to deploy troops there if he chooses. However, deploying troops to the rest of the U.S. is less simple. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1978 says the military cannot enforce law in U.S. states or territories without the express authorization of Congress. However, the Insurrection Act, which was passed by Congress and is itself an express authorization, provides an exception, legal experts tell TIME.
“There’s this long tradition of not wanting the military to be used to enforce federal law, or federal Constitutional rights,” says Saikrishna Prakash, a professor of law at the University of Virginia Law School whose work focuses on executive power. “But there’s also been a long tradition of it actually being used.” The Insurrection Act was invoked multiple times to enforce desegregation during the Civil Rights Movement, for example.
Here’s what to know about the Insurrection Act and the power it gives the president.
What is the Insurrection Act of 1807?
The Insurrection Act of 1807 gives the President the power to deploy the National Guard or the military to enforce laws in certain circumstances. It expanded upon the Militia Act of 1792, which gave the …read more
Source:: Time – Politics