Baldwin, Blumenthal, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Limit Unchecked Presidential Authority Under the Insurrection Act
The CIVIL Act would reform the Insurrection Act to restrict the President’s authority to use active duty troops for domestic law enforcement purposes by:
· Clarifying that the Insurrection Act can only be invoked to protect – not restrict – civil rights.
· Establishing an expedited procedure for judicial review to ensure that individuals, or a state or local government, may bring a civil action if the President’s authority under the Insurrection Act is misused or abused.
· Limiting presidential discretion and empowering the judiciary to determine whether civil rights laws have been violated.
· Requiring the President to consult with Congress prior to invoking the Insurrection Act.
· Requiring the President, Secretary of Defense, and Attorney General to provide a joint certification to Congress that the state is unable or unwilling to enforce federal law. This joint certification must provide an explicit justification for the use of the Insurrection Act’s authority and a full description of the scope and duration of its use.
· Allowing Governors to make a direct request to the President to provide active duty troops under the Insurrection Act, rather than requiring the legislature to make the request first. This technical change will make it easier for Governors to seek support if actually necessary, limiting potential presidential abuse of this authority.
· Ending Insurrection Act authority after fourteen days unless it is specifically extended by a joint resolution of Congress.
· Prohibiting active duty troops from participating in a search, seizure, arrest, or other law enforcement activity unless expressly authorized by law. This provision would clarify the limitations of the Posse Comitatus Act, which is applicable to all active duty troops if the Insurrection Act is not invoked.
An online version of this release is available here.
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