Buried in last year’s Defense Authorization Bill were changes to the Insurrection Act that make it possible for a President to easily declare martial law, and now Senator Patrick Leahy (D. Vt.), along with Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), who are the co-chairs of the 80-member Senate National Guard Caucus, have introduced legislation to return the act to its original wording. Leahy says, “Last year, Congress quietly made it easier for this President or any President to declare martial law.”

The purpose of the changes made by the White House was to destroy the ancient principle of “posse cometatus,” which makes it difficult to use the military for policing functions within the United States. Under the new law, the president can call out the National Guard to police local communities without the consent of governors or congress, and can give the military virtually unlimited authority, completely setting aside constitutional guarantees and the Bill of Rights.

In his press release, Leahy explains that the new rules make it easier for the federal government to use the military, “including a federalized National Guard, to perform domestic law enforcement duties. That change runs counter to our founding principles, to the optimal use of our superb National Guard here at home, and to whatever sensible reforms are needed to improve our Nation’s emergency response capabilities.”

To read Leahy’s complete statement, click here.

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