President Donald Trump’s warning that he would deploy the United States military to any state that refuses to take aggressive action against rioting rests on a longstanding presidential power that gives wide latitude to the White House, legal experts said Monday. But a decision to do so would be met with likely legal opposition, and strong opposition from governors seeing it as an overreaction.
Legal experts say the president does indeed have the authority under the Insurrection Act of 1807 to dispatch the military in states that are unable to put down an insurrection or are defying federal law. In the last half-century, presidents have sent the military to Southern states to ensure desegregation of schools there in the 1950s and 1960s, and to Los Angeles after the California governor sought federal help during the 1992 riots. Even so, the president’s comments set up an immediate conflict with officials in some states, who disputed that the president had unilateral authority to send in troops against their will. Today on AirTalk, we take a look at what implementing the Insurrection Act would look like and how the law has been updated and used in the past. Do you have questions? Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722.
With files from the Associated Press
Hal Kempfer, CEO of GRIP (Global Risk Intelligence and Planning), a management consulting firm based in Long Beach; retired Marine lieutenant colonel who coordinated military support to civil authorities, he tweets @kippinc