Love is in the air...

Saturday, June 15, 2019

WH Pet RX84/H.R.645 (pwd-info-sec)

I, as a liberal-progressive democrat, Adamantly implore the moral ethical leadership of U.S._Government to take-action.

Created by P.S. on June 16, 2019

I implore POTUS45/congress/senate/House/DOD immediately initiate RX84/H.R.645, to conscript all municipalities, all local, state, federal law-enforcement made mandatory federalize, as privatization, as nationalization under DOD/UCMJ with minimum 1-week, to maximum 1yrs duty station rotation with zero tolerance policy to all and any domesticated nepotism. I plead U.S. Government the Mandatory immediately removal of all children from alcohol/drug habitual parents indefinite, to indoctrinate all children into DOD private security corporate communities, to raise, educate, train into white/blue collar Civil Service and-or Military work-force ages of -14 18+ yrs/old, no-less than 20-years conscription and no more than indefinite service conscription until elderly medical discharge, please.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Reference-Research: 21st Century-Wire

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Habeas Corpus Suspension Act of (1863)

Habeas Corpus Suspension Act (1863)

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Habeas Corpus Suspension Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn Act relating to Habeas Corpus, and regulating Judicial Proceedings in Certain Cases
Statutes at Large12 Stat. 755
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 591, A bill to indemnify the President and other persons for suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and acts done in pursuance thereof by Thaddeus Stevens on December 5, 1862
  • Committee consideration by House Judiciary, Senate Judiciary
  • Passed the House of Representatives on December 8, 1862 (90–45)
  • Passed the Senate on January 28, 1863 (33–7)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on February 27, 1863; agreed to by the House of Representatives on March 2, 1863 (99–44) and by the Senate on March 2, 1863 (voice vote)
  • Signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1863
Major amendments
14 Stat. 46 (1866), 14 Stat. 385 (1867)
United States Supreme Court cases
ex parte Vallandigham, 68 U.S. (1 Wall.) 243 (1864)
ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2 (1866)
The Habeas Corpus Suspension, 12 Stat. 755 (1863), entitled An Act relating to Habeas Corpus, and regulating Judicial Proceedings in Certain Cases, was an Act of Congress that authorized the president of the United States to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in response to the American Civil War and provided for the release of political prisoners. It began in the House of Representatives as an indemnity bill, introduced on December 5, 1862, releasing the president and his subordinates from any liability for having suspended habeas corpus without congressional approval.[1] The Senate amended the House's bill,[2] and the compromise reported out of the conference committee altered it to qualify the indemnity and to suspend habeas corpus on Congress's own authority.[3] Abraham Lincoln signed the bill into law on March 3, 1863, and suspended habeas corpus under the authority it granted him six months later. The suspension was partially lifted with the issuance of Proclamation 148 by Andrew Johnson,[4] and the Act became inoperative with the end of the Civil War. The exceptions to his Proclamation 148 were the States of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas, the District of Columbia, and the Territories of New Mexico and Arizona.


At the outbreak of the American Civil War in April 1861, Washington, D.C., was largely undefended, rioters in Baltimore, Maryland threatened to disrupt the reinforcement of the capital by rail, and Congress was not in session. The military situation made it dangerous to call Congress into session.[5] Abraham Lincoln, the president of the United States, therefore authorized his military commanders to suspend the writ of habeas corpus between Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia (and later up through New York City).[6][7] Numerous individuals were arrested, including John Merryman and a number of Baltimore police commissioners; the administration of justice in Baltimore was carried out through military officials. When Judge William Fell Giles of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland issued a writ of habeas corpus, the commander of Fort McHenry, Major W. W. Morris, wrote in reply, "At the date of issuing your writ, and for two weeks previous, the city in which you live, and where your court has been held, was entirely under the control of revolutionary authorities."[8]
Merryman's lawyers appealed, and in early June 1861, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, writing as the United States Circuit Court for Maryland, ruled in ex parte Merryman that Article I, section 9 of the United States Constitution reserves to Congress the power to suspend habeas corpus and thus that the president's suspension was invalid.[9] The rest of the Supreme Court had nothing to do with Merryman, and the other two Justices from the South, John Catron and James Moore Wayne acted as Unionists; for instance, Catron's charge to a Saint Louis grand jury, saying that armed resistance to the federal government was treason, was quoted in the New York Tribune of July 14, 1861.[10] The President's advisers said the circuit court's ruling was invalid and it was ignored.[11]
When Congress was called into special session, July 4, 1861, President Lincoln issued a message to both houses defending his various actions, including the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, arguing that it was both necessary and constitutional for him to have suspended it without Congress.[12][13] Early in the session, Senator Henry Wilson introduced a joint resolution "to approve and confirm certain acts of the President of the United States, for suppressing insurrection and rebellion", including the suspension of habeas corpus (S. No. 1).[14] Senator Lyman Trumbull, the Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, had reservations about its imprecise wording, so the resolution, also opposed by anti-war Democrats, was never brought to a vote. On July 17, 1861, Trumbull introduced a bill to suppress insurrection and sedition which included a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus upon Congress's authority (S. 33). That bill was not brought to a vote before Congress ended its first session on August 6, 1861 due to obstruction by Democrats,[15][16][17] and on July 11, 1862, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary recommended that it not be passed during the second session, either,[18] but its proposed habeas corpus suspension section formed the basis of the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act.
In September 1861 the arrests continued, including a sitting member of Congress from Maryland, Henry May, along with one third of the Maryland General Assembly, and Lincoln expanded the zone within which the writ was suspended.[19] When Lincoln's dismissal of Justice Taney's ruling was criticized in an editorial that month by a prominent Baltimore newspaper editor Frank Key Howard, Francis Scott Key's grandson and Justice Taney's grand-nephew by marriage, he was himself arrested by federal troops without trial. He was imprisoned in Fort McHenry, which, as he noted, was the same fort where the Star Spangled Banner had been waving "o'er the land of the free" in his grandfather's song.[19][20]
In early 1862 Lincoln took a step back from the suspension of habeas corpus controversy. On February 14, he ordered all political prisoners released, with some exceptions (such as the aforementioned newspaper editor) and offered them amnesty for past treason or disloyalty, so long as they did not aid the Confederacy. In March 1862 Congressman Henry May, who had been released in December 1861, introduced a bill requiring the federal government to either indict by grand jury or release all other "political prisoners" still held without habeas corpus.[21] May's bill passed the House in summer 1862, and it would later be included in the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act, which would require actual indictments for suspected traitors.[22]
Seven months later, faced with opposition to his calling up of the militia, Lincoln again suspended habeas corpus, this time through the entire country, and made anyone charged with interfering with the draft, discouraging enlistments, or aiding the Confederacy subject to martial law.[23] In the interim, the controversy continued with several calls made for prosecution of those who acted under Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus; former Secretary of War Simon Cameron had even been arrested in connection with a suit for trespass vi et armis, assault and battery, and false imprisonment.[24] Senator Thomas Holliday Hicks, who had been governor of Maryland during the crisis, told the Senate, "I believe that arrests and arrests alone saved the State of Maryland not only from greater degradation than she suffered, but from everlasting destruction." He also said, "I approved them [the arrests] then, and I approve them now; and the only thing for which I condemn the Administration in regard to that matter is that they let some of these men out."[25]

Legislative history

Representative Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania introduced the bill.
When the Thirty-seventh Congress of the United States opened its third session in December 1862, Representative Thaddeus Stevens introduced a bill "to indemnify the President and other persons for suspending the writ of habeas corpus, and acts done in pursuance thereof" (H.R. 591). This bill passed the House over relatively weak opposition on December 8, 1862.[24][26]
When it came time for the Senate to consider Stevens' indemnity bill, however, the Committee on the Judiciary's amendment substituted an entirely new bill for it. The Senate version referred all suits and prosecutions regarding arrest and imprisonment to the regional federal circuit court with the stipulation that no one acting under the authority of the president could be faulted if "there was reasonable or probable cause", or if they acted "in good faith", until after the adjournment of the next session of Congress.[27] Unlike Stevens' bill, it did not suggest that the president's suspension of habeas corpus upon his own authority had been legal.[24]
The Senate passed its version of the bill on January 28, 1863, and the House took it up in mid-February before voting to send the bill to a conference committee on February 19.[28] The House appointed Thaddeus Stevens, John Bingham, and George H. Pendleton to the conference committee.[29] The Senate agreed to a conference the following day and appointed Lyman Trumbull, Jacob Collamer, and Waitman T. Willey.[30] Stevens, Bingham, Trumbull, and Collamer were all Republicans; Willey was a Unionist; Pendleton was the only Democrat.
On February 27, the conference committee issued its report. The result was an entirely new bill authorizing the explicit suspension of habeas corpus.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That during the present rebellion, the President of the United States, whenever in his judgment the public safety may require it, is authorized to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in any case throughout the United States or any part thereof. And whenever and wherever the said privilege shall be suspended, as aforesaid, no military or other officer shall be compelled, in answer to any writ of habeas corpus, to return the body of any person or persons detained by him by authority of the President; but upon a certificate, under oath, of the officer having charge of any one so detained, that such person is detained by him as a prisoner under the authority of the President, further proceedings under the writ of habeas corpus shall be suspended by the judge or court having issued the writ so long as said suspension by the President shall remain in force and said rebellion continue.[31]
In the House, several members left, depriving the chamber of a quorum. The Sergeant-at-Arms was dispatched to compel attendance and several representatives were fined for their absence.[32] The following Monday, March 2, the day before the Thirty-Seventh Congress had previously voted to adjourn, the House voted to accept the new bill, with 99 members voting in the affirmative and 44 against.[33]
Senator Lazarus W. Powell of Kentucky vehemently opposed the bill.
The Senate spent the evening of March 2 into the early morning of the next day debating the conference committee amendments.[24][34] There, several Democratic Senators attempted a filibuster. Cloture had not yet been adopted as a rule in the Senate, so there was no way to prevent a minuscule minority from holding up business by refusing to surrender the floor. First James Walter Wall of New Jersey spoke until midnight, when Willard Saulsbury, Sr., of Delaware gave Republicans an opportunity to surrender by moving to adjourn. That motion was defeated 5–31, after which Lazarus W. Powell of Kentucky began to speak, yielding for a motion to adjourn from William Alexander Richardson of Illinois forty minutes later, which was also defeated, 5–30. Powell continued to speak, entertaining some hostile questions from Edgar Cowan of Pennsylvania which provoked further discussion, but retaining control of the floor. At seven minutes past two in the morning, James A. Bayard, Jr., of Delaware motioned to adjourn, the motion again failing, 4–35, and Powell retained control of the floor. Powell yielded the floor to Bayard, who then began to speak. At some point later, Powell made a motion to adjourn, but Bayard apparently had not yielded to him for that motion. When this was pointed out, Powell told Bayard to sit down so he could make the motion, assuming that Bayard would retain control of the floor if the motion failed, as it did, 4–33. The presiding officer, Samuel C. Pomeroy of Kansas, immediately called the question of concurring in the report of the conference committee and declared that the ayes had it, and Trumbull immediately moved that the Senate move on to other business, which motion was agreed to. The Democrats objected that Bayard still had the floor, that he had merely yielded it for a motion to adjourn, but Pomeroy said he had no record of why Bayard had yielded the floor, meaning the floor was open once Powell's motion to adjourn had failed, meaning that the presiding officer was free to call the question. In this way, the bill cleared the Senate.[34]
The next day, Senate Democrats protested the manner in which the bill had passed. During the ensuring discussion, the president pro tempore asked permission "to sign a large number of enrolled bills", among which was the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act. The House had already been informed that the Senate had passed the bill, and the engrossed bills were sent to the president, who immediately signed the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act into law.[35]


Scan of page in the Statutes at Large
Statutes at Large, Volume 12, Page 755, containing the opening text of the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act
The Act allowed the president to suspend the writ of habeas corpus so long as the Civil War was ongoing.[36] Normally, a judge would issue a writ of habeas corpus to compel a jailer to state the reason for holding a particular prisoner and, if the judge was not satisfied that the prisoner was being held lawfully, could release him. As a result of the Act, the jailer could now reply that a prisoner was held under the authority of the president and this response would suspend further proceedings in the case until the president lifted the suspension of habeas corpus or the Civil War ended.[36]
The Act also provided for the release of prisoners in a section originally authored by Maryland Congressman Henry May, who had been arrested without recourse to habeas in 1861, while serving in Congress.[22] It required the secretaries of State and War to provide the judges of the federal district and circuit courts with a list of every person who was held as a state or political prisoner and not as a prisoner of war wherever the federal courts were still operational.[37] If the secretaries did not include a prisoner on the list, the judge was ordered to free them.[38] If a grand jury failed to indict anyone on the list before the end of its session, that prisoner was to be released, so long as they took an oath of allegiance and swore that they would not aid the rebellion.[37] Judges could, if they concluded that the public safety required it, set bail before releasing such unindicted prisoners.[37] If the grand jury did indict a prisoner, that person could still be set free on bail if they were charged with a crime that in peacetime would ordinarily make them eligible for bail.[38] These provisions for those held as "political prisoners", as Henry May felt he had been, were first proposed by Congressman May in a bill in March 1862.[21]
The Act further restricted how and why military and civilian officials could be sued. Anyone acting in an official capacity could not be convicted for false arrest, false imprisonment, trespassing, or any crime related to a search and seizure; this applied to actions done under Lincoln's prior suspensions of habeas corpus as well as future ones.[39] If anyone brought a suit against a civilian or military official in any state court, or if state prosecutors went after them, the official could request that the trial instead take place in the (friendlier) federal court system.[40] Moreover, if the official won the case, they could collect double in damages from the plaintiff.[40] Any case could be appealed to the United States Supreme Court on a writ of error.[41] Any suits to be brought against civilian or military officials had to be brought within two years of the arrest or the passage of the Act, whichever was later.[42]


President Lincoln used the authority granted him under the Act on September 15, 1863, to suspend habeas corpus throughout the Union in any case involving prisoners of war, spies, traitors, or any member of the military.[43] He subsequently both suspended habeas corpus and imposed martial law in Kentucky on July 5, 1864.[44] An objection was made to the Act that it did not itself suspend the writ of habeas corpus but instead conferred that authority upon the president, and that the Act therefore violated the nondelegation doctrine prohibiting Congress from transferring its legislative authority, but no court adopted that view.[45] Andrew Johnson restored civilian courts to Kentucky in October, 1865,[46] and revoked the suspension of habeas corpus in states and territories that had not joined the rebellion on December 1 later that year.[47] At least one court had already ruled that the authority of the president to suspend the privilege of the writ had expired with the end of the rebellion a year and a half earlier.[48]
Photograph of Lambdin P. Milligan
Lambdin P. Milligan, one of those arrested while habeas corpus was suspended and tried by military commission
One of those arrested while habeas corpus was suspended was Lambdin P. Milligan. Milligan was arrested in Indiana on October 5, 1864, for conspiring with four others to steal weapons and invade Union prisoner-of-war camps to release Confederate prisoners. They were tried before a military tribunal, found guilty, and sentenced to hang. In ex parte Milligan, the United States Supreme Court held that the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act did not authorize military tribunals, that as a matter of constitutional law the suspension of habeas corpus did not itself authorize trial by military tribunals, and that neither the Act nor the laws of war permitted the imposition of martial law where civilian courts were open and operating unimpeded.[49]
The Court had earlier avoided the questions arising in ex parte Milligan regarding the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act in a case concerning former Congressman and Ohio Copperhead politician Clement Vallandigham. General Ambrose E. Burnside had him arrested in May 1863 claiming his anti-Lincoln and anti-war speeches continued to give aid to the enemy after his having been warned to cease doing so. Vallandigham was tried by a military tribunal and sentenced to two years in a military prison. Lincoln quickly commuted his sentence to banishment to the Confederacy. Vallandigham appealed his sentence, arguing that the Enrollment Act did not authorize his trial by a military tribunal rather than in ordinary civilian courts, that he was not ordinarily subject to court martial, and that General Burnside could not expand the jurisdiction of military courts on his own authority. The Supreme Court did not address the substance of Vallandigham's appeal, instead denying that it possessed the jurisdiction to review the proceedings of military tribunals upon a writ of habeas corpus without explicit congressional authorization.[50] Vallandigham was subsequently deported to the South where he turned himself in for arrest as a Union citizen behind enemy lines and was placed in a Confederate prison.[51]
Mary Elizabeth Jenkins Surratt (May 1823 – July 7, 1865) was an American boarding house owner who was convicted of taking part in the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. She was sentenced to death but her lawyers Clampitt and Aiken had not finished trying to save their client. On the morning of July 7, they asked a District of Columbia court for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the military tribunal had no jurisdiction over their client. The court issued the writ at 3 A.M., and it was served on General Winfield Scott Hancock. Hancock was ordered to produce Surratt by 10 A.M. General Hancock sent an aide to General John F. Hartranft, who commanded the Old Capitol Prison, ordering him not to admit any United States marshal (as this would prevent the marshal from serving a similar writ on Hartranft). President Johnson was informed that the court had issued the writ, and promptly cancelled it at 11:30 A.M. under the authority granted to him by the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act of 1863. General Hancock and United States Attorney General James Speed personally appeared in court and informed the judge of the cancellation of the writ. Mary Surratt was hanged, becoming the first woman executed by the United States federal government.
Because all of the provisions of the Act referred to the Civil War, they were rendered inoperative with the conclusion of the war and no longer remain in effect. The Habeas Corpus Act of 1867 partially restored habeas corpus, extending federal habeas corpus protection to anyone "restrained of his or her liberty in violation of the constitution, or of any treaty or law of the United States", while continuing to deny habeas relief to anyone who had already been arrested for a military offense or for aiding the Confederacy.[52][53] The provisions for the release of prisoners were incorporated into the Civil Rights Act of 1871, which authorized the suspension of habeas corpus in order to break the Ku Klux Klan. Congress strengthened the protections for officials sued for actions arising from the suspension of habeas corpus in 1866[54] and 1867.[55][56] Its provisions were omitted from the Revised Statutes of the United States, the codification of federal legislation in effect as of 1873.[57]

See also


The Posse Comitatus Act of (1878)

The Posse Comitatus Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Posse Comitatus Act
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titles
  • Knott Amendment
  • Posse Comitatus Act of 1878
Long titleAn act making appropriations for the support of the Army for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and seventy-nine, and for other purposes.
NicknamesArmy Appropriations Act of 1878
Enacted bythe 45th United States Congress
EffectiveJune 18, 1878
Public law45-263
Statutes at Large20 Stat. 145 aka 20 Stat. 152
U.S.C. sections created18 U.S.C. § 1385
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 4867 by Herman L. Humphrey (R-WI), William Kimmel (D-MD) on May 13, 1878
  • Passed the House on May 18, 1878 (130–117)
  • Passed the Senate on June 6, 1878 (36–23)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on June 15, 1878; agreed to by the House on June 15, 1878 (154–58) and by the Senate on June 15, 1878 (Agreed)
  • Signed into law by President Rutherford B. Hayes on June 18, 1878
Major amendments
1956, 1981
The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152) signed on June 18, 1878, by President Rutherford B. Hayes. The purpose of the act – in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807 – is to limit the powers of the federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States. It was passed as an amendment to an army appropriation bill following the end of Reconstruction and was updated in 1956 and 1981.
The act specifically applies only to the United States Army and, as amended in 1956, the United States Air Force. Although the act does not explicitly mention the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps, the Department of the Navy has prescribed regulations that are generally construed to give the act force with respect to those services as well. The act does not prevent the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard under state authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state's governor. The United States Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, is not covered by the Posse Comitatus Act either, primarily because although the Coast Guard is an armed service, it also has both a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission.
The title of the act comes from the legal concept of posse comitatus, the authority under which a county sheriff, or other law officer, conscripts any able-bodied person to assist in keeping the peace.


The Act, § 15 of the appropriations bill for the Army for 1879, found at 20 Stat. 152, was a response to, and subsequent prohibition of, the military occupation of the former Confederate States by the United States Army during the twelve years of Reconstruction (1865–1877) following the American Civil War (1861–1865). The president withdrew federal troops from the Southern States as a result of a compromise in one of the most disputed national elections in American history, the 1876 U.S. presidential election. Samuel J. Tilden of New York, the Democratic candidate, defeated Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio in the popular vote. Tilden garnered 184 electoral votes to Hayes' 165; 20 disputed electoral votes remained uncounted. After a bitter fight, Congress struck a deal resolving the dispute and awarded the presidency to Hayes.
In return for Southern acquiescence regarding Hayes, Republicans agreed to support the withdrawal of federal troops from the former Confederate States, formally ending Reconstruction. Known as the Compromise of 1877, this agreement involved allowing South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana to agree to certify Rutherford B. Hayes as the president in exchange for the removal of federal troops from the South.[1]
The U.S. Constitution places primary responsibility for the holding of elections in the hands of the individual states. The maintenance of peace, conduct of orderly elections, and prosecution of unlawful actions are all state responsibilities, pursuant of any state's role of exercising police power and maintaining law and order, whether part of a wider federation or a unitary state. During the local, state, and federal elections of 1874 and 1876 in the former Confederate States, all levels of government chose not to exercise their police powers to maintain law and order.[1] Some historians have concluded most Reconstruction governments did not have the power to suppress the violence.[citation needed]
When the U.S. representatives and senators from the former Confederate States reached Washington, they set as a priority legislation to prohibit any future president or Congress from directing, by military order or federal legislation, the imposition of federal troops in any U.S. state.[citation needed] By the 1878 election, Congress was dominated by the Democratic Party, and they passed the Posse Comitatus Act in 1878.[citation needed] The Act did not end the conflict, as the 1879 Rider Wars lead to the second longest shutdown of the US government.[2][3] According to historian Heather Cox Richardson, railroad executive Thomas A. Scott convinced President Hayes to use federal troops to end the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, causing a backlash that motivated bipartisan support for the Posse Comitatus Act.[4]
In the mid-20th century, the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower used an exception to the Posse Comitatus Act, derived from the Enforcement Acts, to send federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas, during the 1957 school desegregation crisis. The Arkansas governor had opposed desegregation after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1954 in the Brown v. Board of Education that segregated public schools were unconstitutional. The Enforcement Acts, among other powers, allow the president to call up military forces when state authorities are either unable or unwilling to suppress violence that is in opposition to the constitutional rights of the people.[5]
The original Posse Comitatus Act referred mostly to the United States Army. The United States Air Force, which had been incorporated within the Army inside the U.S. (and the Navy outside) until 1949, was added in 1956. This law is often relied upon to prevent the Department of Defense from interfering in domestic law enforcement.[6] The United States Coast Guard is not included in the act even though it is one of the five armed services because it is not a part of the Department of Defense. At the time the act became law, the modern Coast Guard did not exist. Its predecessor, the United States Revenue Cutter Service, was primarily a customs enforcement agency and part of the United States Department of the Treasury.[7] In 1915, when the Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Lifesaving Service were amalgamated to form the Coast Guard, the service was both explicitly made a military branch and explicitly given federal law enforcement authority.


The original provision was enacted as Section 15 of chapter 263, of the Acts of the 2nd session of the 45th Congress.
Sec. 15. From and after the passage of this act it shall not be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress; and no money appropriated by this act shall be used to pay any of the expenses incurred in the employment of any troops in violation of this section and any person willfully violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or imprisonment not exceeding two years or by both such fine and imprisonment[8]
The text of the relevant legislation is as follows:
18 U.S.C. § 1385. Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
Also notable is the following provision within Title 10 of the United States Code (which concerns generally the organization and regulation of the armed forces and Department of Defense):
10 U.S.C. § 275. Restriction on direct participation by military personnel
The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to ensure that any activity (including the provision of any equipment or facility or the assignment or detail of any personnel) under this chapter does not include or permit direct participation by a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps in a search, seizure, arrest, or other similar activity unless participation in such activity by such member is otherwise authorized by law.

2006–07 suspension

In 2006, Congress modified the Insurrection Act as part of the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill (repealed as of 2008). On September 26, 2006, President George W. Bush urged Congress to consider revising federal laws so that U.S. armed forces could restore public order and enforce laws in the aftermath of a natural disaster, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition. These changes were included in the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122), which was signed into law on October 17, 2006.[9]
Section 1076 is titled "Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies." It provided that:
The President may employ the armed forces ... to ... restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition ... the President determines that ... domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order ... or [to] suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such ... a condition ... so hinders the execution of the laws ... that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law ... or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.[10]
In 2008, these changes in the Insurrection Act of 1807 were repealed in their entirety, reverting to the previous wording of the Insurrection Act.[11] It was originally written to limit presidential power as much as possible in the event of insurrection, rebellion, or lawlessness.

2011 modification

In 2011, President Barack Obama signed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 into law. Section 1021(b)(2) extended the definition of a "covered person", i.e., someone possibly subject to detention under this law,[dubious ] to include:
A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.[12]
Section 1021(e) purports to limit the scope of said authority with the text, "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States."[13]

Exclusions and limitations

There are a number of situations in which the Act does not apply. These include:

Exclusion applicable to U.S. Coast Guard

See the Law Enforcement Detachments and Missions of the United States Coast Guard for more information on U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement activities.
Although it is an armed service,[15] the U.S. Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, is not only not restricted by the Posse Comitatus Act but has explicit authority to enforce federal law. This is true even when the Coast Guard is operating as a service within the U.S. Navy during wartime.[7]
In December 1981, the Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies Act was enacted clarifying permissible military assistance to domestic law enforcement agencies and the Coast Guard, especially in combating drug smuggling into the United States. Posse Comitatus clarifications emphasize supportive and technical assistance (e.g., use of facilities, vessels, and aircraft, as well as intelligence support, technological aid, and surveillance) while generally prohibiting direct participation of U.S. military personnel in law enforcement (e.g., search, seizure, and arrests). For example, a U.S. Navy vessel may be used to track, follow, and stop a vessel suspected of drug smuggling, but Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETs) embarked aboard the Navy vessel would perform the actual boarding and, if needed, arrest the suspect vessel's crew.[7]

Advisory and support roles

Federal troops have a long history of domestic roles, including occupying secessionist Southern states during Reconstruction and putting down major urban riots. The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the use of active duty personnel to "execute the laws"; however, there is disagreement over whether this language may apply to troops used in an advisory, support, disaster response, or other homeland defense role, as opposed to domestic law enforcement.[1]
On March 10, 2009, members of the U.S. Army Military Police Corps from Fort Rucker were deployed to Samson, Alabama, in response to a murder spree. Samson officials confirmed that the soldiers assisted in traffic control and securing the crime scene. The governor of Alabama did not request military assistance nor did President Obama authorize their deployment. Subsequent investigation found that the Posse Comitatus Act was violated and several military members received "administrative actions".[16][17]

See also


  • "The Posse Comitatus Act: Setting the record straight on 124 years of mischief and misunderstanding before any more damage is done," Military Law Review, Vol. 175, 2003.

  • [1]

  • [2]

  • Radio Boston: Week In Review

  • Lieberman, Jethro (1999). A Practical Companion to the Constitution: How the Supreme Court Has Ruled on Issues from Abortion to Zoning. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21280-0.

  • Mazzetti, Mark and Johnston, David. "Bush Weighed Using Military in Arrests", New York Times, 22 June 2009

  • Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETs): A History

  • Text at Wikisource

  • John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007

  • H.R. 5122, pp. 322–23

  • "H.R. 4986: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008". 2008. Retrieved January 24, 2008.

  • GPO text of Public Law 112-81 (PDF)

  • "Text of Public Law 112-81" (PDF), GPO

  • Nofi, Albert A. (July 2007). "The Naval Militia: A Neglected Asset?" (PDF). CNA. Retrieved February 19, 2019.

  • About the United States Coast Guard

  • Army reviews shows troop use in Samson killing spree violated federal law, Birmingham News

    1. Revolutionizing Northern Command, Lt. Col. Gary L. McGinniss, U.S. Army

    Further reading

    External links