What Is The Insurrection Act of 1807? Trump Uses Old Law To Justify Use Of Military Against Citizens
“If the city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residence, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” said Trump in his White House Rose Garden appearance.
Trump threatened to use the Insurrection Act of 1807, which allows the president of the United States to legally use active military force in domestic civil conflicts.
The original text of the act reads:
An Act authorizing the employment of the land and naval forces of the United States, in cases of insurrections
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in all cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws, either of the United States, or of any individual state or territory, where it is lawful for the President of the United States to call forth the militia for the purpose of suppressing such insurrection, or of causing the laws to be duly executed, it shall be lawful for him to employ, for the same purposes, such part of the land or naval force of the United States, as shall be judged necessary, having first observed all the pre-requisites of the law in that respect.
APPROVED, March 3, 1807.
The Insurrection act was last used by the California Gov. Pete Wilson when he called for more than 9,800 California National Guard troops during the Los Angeles riots in 1991. The protests followed after the acquittal four white police officers who beat an African American man, Rodney King. During the protests, more than 50 people died, and more than 2,000 were injured.
During the Civil Rights era, President Dwight Eisenhower sent 1,000 U.S. Army troops from the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock when Central High School was desegregated, despite the objections of the governor.
Last week, nationwide protests sparked across the nation after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes during an arrest, killing the 46-year-old African American man. Independent autopsy confirmed the cause of death was a homicide.
As Trump criticized the local officials and urged them to be “tougher,” Trump also promised to “put in charge” the U.S. top military officer, General Mark Milley, to suppress the protests and called for more “law and order.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) criticized Trump handling the situation in a joint statement. “Tear-gassing peaceful protestors without provocation just so that the President could pose for photos outside a church dishonors every value that faith teaches us,” the said.