Congress Quietly Repeals Martial Law Provision

In late 2006, Congress revised the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act to make it far easier for a president to declare martial law. Those changes were repealed at the end of this January as part of Public Law 110-181 (HR 4986), the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (signed into law by President Bush on January 28, 2008).

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt), who championed the opposition to the original law, was also the hero of the repeal. It helped that all the nation’s governors opposed the 2006 law.

Boise State Professor Charlotte Twight, the author of the excellent Dependent on DC, alerted me to the change last night. I checked on Nexis and the only news coverage I found regarding the repeal was a 322-word Gannett News wire story from February 1 that focused on how the repeal made governors happy.

I first wrote about the Posse/Insurrection peril for American Conservative a year ago. My most recent piece on the subject was an article for the January issue of the Future of Freedom Foundation’s (FFF) Freedom Daily. The law was changed between the time the piece was published and when FFF posted the January article online on April 9.

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