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|Long title||An Act authorizing the employment of the land and naval forces of the United States, in cases of insurrections|
|Enacted by||the 9th United States Congress|
|Effective||March 3, 1807|
|Statutes at Large||2 Stat. 443|
|1871, 2006, 2007|
The Insurrection Act of 1807 is a United States federal law (10 U.S.C. §§ 251–255; prior to 2016, 10 U.S.C. §§ 331–335; amended 2006, 2007) that empowers the President of the United States to deploy U.S. military and federalized National Guard troops within the United States in particular circumstances, such as to suppress civil disorder, insurrection and rebellion.
The 1807 Act replaced the earlier Calling Forth Act of 1792, which had allowed for federalization of state militias, with similar language that allowed either for federalization of state militias or use of the regular armed forces in the case of rebellion against a state government.:60
The 1807 Act has been modified twice. In 1861, a new section was added allowing the federal government to use the National Guard and armed forces against the will of the state government in the case of "rebellion against the authority of the government of the United States," in anticipation of continued unrest after the Civil War. In 1871, the Third Enforcement Act revised this section (§ 253) to protect African Americans from attacks by the Ku Klux Klan. The language added at that time allows the federal government to use the act to enforce the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.:63–64 This section of the act was invoked during the Reconstruction era, and again during desegregation fights during the Civil Rights Era.
The Insurrection Act has been invoked throughout American history. In the 19th century, it was invoked during conflicts with Native Americans. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was invoked during labor conflicts. Later in the 20th century, it was used to enforce federally mandated desegregation, with presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy invoking the Act in opposition to the affected states' political leaders to enforce court-ordered desegregation. More recently, governors have requested and received support most recently following looting in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
In 2006, the George W. Bush administration considered intervening in the state of Louisiana's response to Hurricane Katrina despite the refusal from Louisiana's governor, but this was inconsistent with past precedent, politically difficult, and potentially unconstitutional.:73–75 A provision of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, added by an unidentified sponsor, amended the Insurrection act to permit military intervention without state consent, in case of an emergency that hindered the enforcement of laws. Bush signed this amendment into law, but some months after it was enacted, all fifty state governors issued a joint statement against it, and the changes were repealed in January 2008.
On June 1, 2020, President Donald Trump threatened to invoke the Act in response to the riots following the death of George Floyd in police custody. As of June 5, 2020, the proclamation required by the Act has not been made, and federal troops have not been deployed.
|Date of invocation||Invoking President||State requested?||Affected area||Occasion|
|April 19, 1808||Thomas Jefferson||Lake Champlain||Embargo Act violations|
|August 23, 1831||Andrew Jackson||Yes||Norfolk, Virginia||Nat Turner's slave rebellion|
|January 28, 1834||Andrew Jackson||Yes||Williamsport, Maryland||Labor dispute by workers on Chesapeake and Ohio Canal|
|October 17, 1871||Ulysses S. Grant||No||South Carolina||Suppression of Ku Klux Klan|
|September 15, 1872||Ulysses S. Grant||No||New Orleans, Louisiana||Unrest following 1872 Louisiana gubernatorial election|
|May 13, 1874||Ulysses S. Grant||Yes||Little Rock, Arkansas||Brooks–Baxter War |
|October 7, 1878||Rutherford B. Hayes||Yes||Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory||Lincoln County War|
|July 7, 1894||Grover Cleveland||Yes||Chicago, Illinois||Pullman Strike|
|April 28, 1914||Woodrow Wilson||Yes||Colorado||Colorado Coalfield War|
|July 22, 1943||Franklin D. Roosevelt||Yes||Detroit, Michigan||1943 Detroit race riot|
|September 24, 1957||Dwight D. Eisenhower||No||Little Rock, Arkansas||To protect Little Rock Nine|
|September 30, 1962||John F. Kennedy||No||Oxford, Mississippi||Ole Miss riot of 1962:13|
|June 11, 1963||John F. Kennedy||No||Tuscaloosa, Alabama||Stand in the Schoolhouse Door|
|September 10, 1963||John F. Kennedy||No||Alabama||Enforce desegregation orders on Alabama public schools|
|July 24, 1967||Lyndon B. Johnson||Yes||Detroit, Michigan||1967 Detroit riot|
|April 5, 1968||Lyndon B. Johnson||Yes||Washington, D.C.||1968 Washington, D.C., riots|
|April 7, 1968||Lyndon B. Johnson||Yes||Baltimore, Maryland||Baltimore riot of 1968|
|April 7, 1968||Lyndon B. Johnson||Yes||Chicago, Illinois||1968 Chicago riots|
|September 20, 1989||George H. W. Bush||Yes||Saint Croix, United States Virgin Islands||Disorder following Hurricane Hugo|
|May 1, 1992||George H. W. Bush||Yes||Los Angeles County, California||1992 Los Angeles riots|
Once finalized, the Enforcement Act was quietly tucked into a large defense authorization bill: the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007. Very few people, including many members of Congress who voted on the larger defense bill, actually knew they were also voting to modify the Insurrection Act. The secrecy surrounding the Enforcement Act was so pervasive that the actual sponsor of the new legislation remains unknown to this day.
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