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Tags Current Affairs

Martial Law

Date: 15 September 2020 Tags: Bills & Laws

Issue

Republican strategist and convicted felon Roger Stone has suggested Trump to enforce martial law in the US and seize power if he loses the November-3 election.

 

Background

Martial law is the imposition of direct military control of normal civil functions or suspension of civil law by a government, especially in response to a temporary emergency where civil forces are overwhelmed, or in an occupied territory.

 

Details

  • Trump, who is trailing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the presidential polls, has repeatedly cast uncertainty on whether he would accept the election results. 

  • Trump said that if leftwing protests sweep the US in the event of his winning re-election, he would use the Act to put down the demonstrations and unrest within minutes.

  • Under the US Constitution, the governors of states are responsible for maintaining law and order within state boundaries. A law called the Posse Comitatus Act, which reflects this principle, restricts the federal military’s participation in domestic law enforcement.

  • The law has since been amended several times, and now consists of a group of statutes that empower the US President to use the National Guard or the military to deal with domestic crises, in certain circumstances.

  • The President does not require the state governor’s approval to send troops under some scenarios laid down by the law. A successful legal challenge to such use of the law is also very unlikely.

  • Although the Act has been enforced on numerous occasions in US history, its use in recent decades has been widely seen as unpopular. 

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