US President Donald Trump has threatened to use the military to end the violence that has plagued the protests against police violence for more than a week. A questionable legal decision.
He had self-created “War President” to fight against Covid-19. The decor has changed, but the tone remains the same: Donald Trump said on Monday 1your June, that he was ready to deploy the army on US territory to “dominate” the streets, while police violence protests have multiplied throughout the country.
The threat of sending soldiers to stop the anger that has raged since the death of George Floyd, an African-American who was killed during a police investigation on Monday, May 25, has caused a great uproar in the American media. The New York magazinesees it as a sign that a president succumbed to his authoritarian temptations, while CNN presenter Don Lemon wondered if Donald Trump was really ready to “declare war on US citizens”.
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But beyond the political reach of such a gesture, using the army is a legally questionable alternative. In theory, the president cannot send military personnel for law enforcement on American soil. It is an assignment that falls under the governments of each state. So they can appeal to the National Guard, reservists from the US Army who are in every state. While usually mobilized during natural disasters, they can also intervene when civilian movements overflow.
The president has nothing to say except to invoke the law of rebellion, a law of 1807 that allows the chief executive to mobilize the army on American soil under exceptional circumstances.
He can thus intervene at the request of a governor who would feel overwhelmed by the events. This is what happened in 1992, the last time the rebellion was used. During the race riot in Los Angeles, triggered by the acquittal of police accused of doing so beat Rodney King, the California governor requested and received from President George Bush the deployment of the army to restore calm.
However, it is hard to imagine Minnesota governor, Democrat Tim Waltz, appealing to Donald Trump to help him control emissions during the Minneapolis protests. To illustrate the local authorities’ reluctance to work hand in hand with Donald Trump, the New York Attorney General, Letitia james like that that “the US president does[était]not a dictator, and he doesn’t[allait]does not “dominate” New York.
President Trump is not a dictator and he does not have the right to unilaterally distribute US military over US states.
We will guard the right to peaceful protest and do not hesitate to go to court to protect our constitutional rights during this time and into the future.
– NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) June 2, 2020
From Dwight Eisenhower to Donald Trump
But Donald Trump may also decide on his own to send soldiers to confront the alleged “towing” and “anti-phase” militants. To do so, the US chief must act to protect “critical infrastructure” or a federal building, such as a power plant, recalling a 2006 congressional report on the use of the Uprising Play Theater. The military can also be mobilized to ensure that federal law is enforced when government agencies are unwilling or unable to do so.
It is the latter provision that has given rise to the most significant applications of the law of rebellion in recent American history. It allowed President Dwight Eisenhower in 1957 and John F. Kennedy in 1962 and 1963 to enforce laws against segregation in Arkansas and Mississippi. The soldiers were then deployed to ensure that African-American students could safely go to their school when local governors wanted to oppose it.
An exceptional measure, previously used to protect African Americans’ civil rights, updated to set foot on the protesters who condemn systemic racism in the US police? Several lawyers American proposethat Donald Trump would have the right to do so. In fact, the Insurgency Act specifies that the US President may call on the Army if “part of the population is deprived of protection, or by a right guaranteed by the Constitution or by a federal law.” In other words, it is enough for the tenant in the White House to ensure that the local authorities do not guarantee, for example, the right to private property before war to call the soldiers to the rescue; illuminates CNN.
A responsible president on things goes wrong
Such a reading of the law would be outstanding, but Donald Trump has “shown in the past that he does not feel bound by precedent,” the Los Angeles Times notes. And although this interpretation of the rebellion law is legally challenged, “it is difficult to imagine that the courts feel justified in judging the validity of a president’s assessment of a situation”, Twitter Highlights Steve Vladeck, national security expert at the University of Austin, Texas.
In reality, the biggest obstacle to the president’s use of the army is political. Certainly such a fair could delight Donald Trump’s election base. But “if he has applied, he should take all responsibility for how the situation will develop,” Steve Vladeck said.
First, before he can send the soldiers in place, the president must give the protesters a time limit, which he freely sets the duration, in order to disperse. Such an ultimatum “will probably be interpreted by some of the population as an authoritarian act” intended to deprive the people of their right to freely demonstrate; notes the Vox website.
If the confrontation between the army and the protesters then degenerates, Donald Trump will have trouble ensuring that he has nothing to do with it. It may well be a master of the art of finding scapegoats – China or the World Health Organization for coronavirus pandemics and the governors, or “antiphase” for current social tensions – the decision to mobilize the military is a man’s act: US president. Less than six months from the next presidential election, is the one striving to succeed itself ready to take such a risk?