Jan 11, 2021
5 mins read
Insurrection Act of 1807
“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.”
Before the insurrection act can be invoked, the president “must first issue a proclamation ordering the insurgents to disperse within a limited time.”
The insurrection act gives the president the power to deploy the military and federal forces across the US.
The Posse Comitatus act was signed into law by President Rutherford B. Hayes, partially to stop the use of federal troops in the South after the Civil War. This would prohibit the deployment of active duty troops domestically without authorization of congress of the Constitution.
The exception to this was the President could use the insurrection act as a way to fend off a rebellion that posed a significant threat to the government. Which could clue us in to why Trump continues to call the BLM protestors “terrorists”, to justify trying to use the US Military against them.
But taking that step came with a very clear caveat: According to the U.S. Code, "Whenever the President considers it necessary to use the militia or the armed forces under this chapter, he shall, by proclamation, immediately order the insurgents to disperse and retire peaceably to their abodes within a limited time."
So, basically, the Red Hats keep shouting that Trump has signed the “Insurrection Act”. There are a few problems with this statement. It was already signed, in 1807. Second, the president would either need congressional approval to use it, OR he would have to issue a proclamation ordering the people to disperse within a limited time frame. And, a twitter tantrum doesn’t meet that requirement. The president cannot invoke the Insurrection Act secretly or ambiguously. He also has to allow Congress and the public to respond.
The president can ignore the will of a state governor with invoke the Insurrection Act, if the president says a rebellion or insurgence in a state makes it impossible to enforce US law, or if the president can prove citizens’ rights are being threatened.
The president’s own legal advisor, Jenna Ellis, acknowledged the Insurrection Act cannot be used in regards to the election.
The courts can overrule the president’s use of the Insurrection Act.
As usual, the shouting of the Red Hats is noise from an uneducated mass, which has honed in on a keyword or two, that doesn’t mean at all what they think it does.
The National Defense Authorization Act from December 2020 tried to put wording in that would tie Trump’s hands in using the Insurrection Act, but that whole amendment was thrown out. So, nothing got better, but, nothing changed either. It didn’t give Trump more power than he always had. When the Red Hats start talking about this, just tell yourself they are just showing you how uneducated they were before this, and now they are SUPER excited to prove they have learned a new word.