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Preventing Militarization of Law Enforcement

Between now and November, there is a strong possibility of protests and civil unrest involving escalation between civilians and law enforcement. President Trump could use such conditions to invoke or threaten to invoke the Insurrection Act with the purpose or effect of interfering with the election. Given President Trump’s pattern of abusing power to advance his own narrow political interests, it’s not an unlikely scenario. Protect Democracy has prepared a litigation memo to analyze the Trump administration’s threatened invocation of the Insurrection Act and any potential legal challenges. See an executive summary of that memo below. For a PDF version, click here.

The Trump Administration’s use of the National Guard to quell protests has raised legal questions regarding what authority the President has over National Guard units in a law enforcement status. Protect Democracy has prepared the below explainer to provide guidance. For a PDF of this explainer, click here.

 

American military leadership, both retired and still in service, have come together as a united voice against invocation of the Insurrection Act, which would deploy federal military troops to American streets.

Following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black Americans, protests against police brutality and systemic racism have erupted throughout the United States. Though the vast majority (80%) have been peaceful, President Trump has publicly contemplated invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807 in order to deploy federal troops into American cities to quell protests.

Leading retired military leaders who have spoken out against such action include:

Current Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also stated that he does not support invocation of the Insurrection Act to quell protests.

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