(TargetLiberty.org) – Riots have rocked cities across the country for more than a week now. Businesses have sustained millions of dollars in damage. Police officers have been injured as violent criminals pelt them with projectiles and fireworks during the riots.
After days of watching all this, President Donald Trump issued an ultimatum: either the governors use the National Guard and get rioters under control, or he will send military troops into states to do it for them.
The Insurrection Act
Under ordinary circumstances, it’s against federal law to send the US military into the streets of America to face off with citizens. The Posse Comitatus Act prevents that from happening. However, there’s an exception to the law known as the Insurrection Act.
The Insurrection Act allows the president of the United States to deploy the military into American cities if state governors cannot get a violent situation, natural disaster, cleanup or other issues under control. The original law was enacted in 1807 but has been amended a few times since then.
The last time a president invoked the Act was during the Los Angeles riots in 1992. President George H. W. Bush sent in the military after California’s governor asked for help.
Does Trump Need to Wait For a Request?
Legal experts do not believe he has to have an invitation from governors under dire circumstances. For example, if the riots continue, and states refuse to ask for help while Americans are being hurt and businesses are being looted, the president could send in the troops in order to preserve law and order.
Section §252 of the law says “…whenever the president considers…” a rebellion against the US and the laws cannot be enforced, “…he may call into federal service…” and use the military to suppress the violence. That’s what Trump is threatening to do and it’ll be completely legal if he chooses to go that route.
The hope is that states will get their own houses in order and not put the president in that position. However, at the end of the day, if he has to do it, he’s well within the boundaries of the law.
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