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1807 Law Is at Center of Trump's Newest Move

Insurrection Act gives the president authority to bring in active-duty troops
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2020 9:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – "If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them," President Trump declared Monday. His ability to do so amid the George Floyd protests centers on something called the Insurrection Act, which dates back to 1807. The details:

  • The act: It gives the president the right to call in active-duty troops (as opposed to reserves in the National Guard) for law enforcement. Typically, this would be done at the request of a governor, but legal experts say a president can do so without such a request, reports NPR.
  • Last time: The act hasn't been invoked much. The last time was in 1992 during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, notes NBC News, though that was at the governor's request. A footnote: William Barr happened to be serving as attorney general then, too, under the elder George Bush.

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