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Friday, January 12, 2007

Federalism Setback

Stateline.org: Governors lose in power struggle over National Guard
A little-noticed change in federal law packs an important change in who is in charge the next time a state is devastated by a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina.

To the dismay of the nation’s governors, the White House now will be empowered to go over a governor’s head and call up National Guard troops to aid a state in time of natural disasters or other public emergencies. Up to now, governors were the sole commanders in chief of citizen soldiers in local Guard units during emergencies within the state.

7 Comments:

Blogger theorris said...

What about when both Eisenhower and Kennedy federalized the National Guard in the South?

1/12/2007 7:56 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

Good question T. Found this:

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 forbids U.S. troops from being deployed on American soil for law enforcement. The one exception is provided by the Insurrection Act of 1807, which lets the president use the military only for the purpose of putting down rebellions or enforcing constitutional rights if state authorities fail to do so. Under that law, the president can declare an insurrection and call in the armed forces. The act has been invoked only a handful of times in the past 50 years, including in 1957 to desegregate schools and in 1992 during riots in south central Los Angeles after the acquittal of police accused of beating Rodney King.

Congress [just] changed the Insurrection Act to list "natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident" as conditions under which the president can deploy U.S. armed forces and federalize state Guard troops if he determines that "authorities of the state or possession are incapable of maintaining public order."

1/12/2007 8:28 PM  
Anonymous connor said...

To the dismay of the nation’s governors, the White House now will be empowered to go over a governor’s head and call up National Guard troops to aid a state in time of natural disasters or other public emergencies.

The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act (which made this possible), along with the Military Commissions Act, was the sucker punch to the stomach of Constitutional liberty in this country. While the Military Commissions Act (which killed the Habeas Corpus, and the Bill of Rights at large) received some media attention, the John Warner Act flew under the radar.

This Act was passed even with the governors of all 50 states signing a unanimous letter in opposition to this atrocious Act.

Wisely did Thomas Jefferson say: "In questions of power then let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

1/12/2007 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is important to note that his heinous revision of the law was passed under a Republican Congress with a Republican President.

1/13/2007 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also important to note that Utah's Republican Legislature has not been shy about reminding the presidency when it has exceeded it's natural constitutional bounds (NCLB, GSENM). Utah's Republican Governor signed a letter in opposition to this move. Trying to make this about party is fruitless - it is about Power. National vs. local. Period. And the stupid, weak, self serving national government will never turn the tide. It's going to have to be us - the people, and our local representatives. If we care enough.

1/13/2007 12:37 PM  
Blogger Intensemystery said...

What do you think will happen?

7/16/2007 9:25 AM  
Anonymous mikeh said...

Who pays? The state pays when the Governor activates the Guard and this has caused problems when state budgets are limited. Governors hesitate to spend any "unnecessary" money on things that do not match their political prejudices. DOD pays when the President activates, unless there was a loophole that I missed in the new law. This allows Governors in the opposite party to use the press to get activation without obligations or blame. All politicians are conniving SOBs, it is part of their genes, else they would not run for office.

7/16/2007 7:50 PM  

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