Jan. 6 committee eyes rewriting 1807 Insurrection Act, would remove presidential powers to deploy military

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(Video Credit: MSNBC)

The January 6th House committee is now reportedly considering the radical move of recommending that the 1807 Insurrection Act be amended, removing presidential authority to deploy the military within the United States if necessary to quell an uprising.

According to The New York Times, the discussions are preliminary. Some leftists allegedly fear some sort of doomsday scenario where a rogue president could use the military to bolster an insurrection. Others are said to be worried that removing such power to quickly deploy armed troops would leave the nation vulnerable. The Civil War and the civil rights movement were touted as examples.

Former President Donald Trump never invoked the act while he was in office. At one point, he allegedly threatened to use it against protesters in Lafayette Square who were demonstrating against the police killing George Floyd.

The leftist media outlet is also claiming that Trump adviser Stephen Miller suggested that the act be invoked over illegal immigrants flooding the southern border but Defense Secretary Mark Esper nixed the idea.

The chief clause of the act at issue states: “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.”

The act allows the president to deploy military and federalized National Guard troops to put down or control an insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy which results in the deprivation of constitutionally secured rights, and where the state is unable, fails, or refuses to protect said rights, according to the Legal Information Institute.

The act was originally signed by President Thomas Jefferson over concerns that his former vice president, Aaron Burr, was plotting a coup.

Since the Civil War and the civil rights unrest, it has only been invoked twice. Once following Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and during the Los Angeles riots in 1992.

Citing alleged actions by Trump and his supporters concerning plans to use the military to upend the 2020 presidential election and take back the country, the committee members are now pondering a review of the act.

“There are many of us who are of the view that the Insurrection Act, which the former president threatened to invoke multiple times throughout 2020, bears a review,” Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California told the New York Times.

The media piece gives a long list of accusations against Trump and his cabinet alleging insurrectionist activities and a purported grab for power. Many consider them to be baseless.

The changes under discussion could potentially up the threshold that a sitting president must meet before he could deploy troops domestically, including requiring consultation with Congress. Changes to the act would also have to go through Congress to be implemented.

Republicans have argued that Congress should not amend the Insurrection Act. They contend that consulting with lawmakers would slow down a president when swift action might be necessary.

“A president would not be able to act quickly and decisively in the event of riots that are not being controlled at the state or municipal level,” Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) said during a floor debate in 2020 according to the New York Times. He added, “This would hinder and delay needed action to preserve domestic peace.”


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