Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Posse Comitatus Act (1878) Essay Example for Free

Posse Comitatus Act (1878) Essay The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law which had been passed on June 16, 1878 as an outcome of two sources, the first being the end of the Reconstruction Period. From the establishment of the Republic till the passing of the act in question it had been standard practice to position federal troops at polling spots in order to avoid inebriates from voting as well as to ascertain that those people who would be entering the polls were sanctioned to do so in a period of restricted suffrage. As the Civil War ended, those federal troops were positioned in the polls in order to assure that worldwide manhood suffrage was allowed, and also that no previous Confederate officers would be allowed to vote since all former Confederate officers were not allowed to vote nor to hold position above the state level and the end of the Civil War Reconstruction Period entails that implementation of the said restrictions are no longer needed (Price, and Rectenwald, 2007).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The second reason came from the terms on the western frontier in that fort commanders were usually the solitary law and order in a district, the solitary security for pioneers who are on the move to the west. The majority of these frontiers was still beyond the United States proper, and had not been allowed in the statehood. Fort commanders then started to put into effect civilian law enforcement accountabilities, at times in a random manner, to stalk those people they regard as criminals or Indians who are dangerous for the early settlers. The line of reasoning being that criminality and Indian assaults took place swiftly and necessitate swift action from those in powers who happens to be in the same location. They were also far away from Washington D.C. and thus the outcomes were at times infringements of the constitution and stipulations otherwise unsound to chosen civil authorities (Baker, 1999).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The Act then was passed to veto the army in civilian law enforcement the Act also represents the long-established American dogma of separating civilian from military authorities as well as to currently prohibit the use of Army and Air Forces in order to implement civilian laws. In the past 15 years, the Congress has intentionally worn down this belief by engaging the military in drug prohibition in the United States border. This particular attrition would carry on unless the Congress renovates the Posse Comitatus Act principle to protect the crucial and traditional separation and distinction of civilian and military officials (Isenberg, 2002).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The increasing swiftness with which the military is regarded as a universal remedy for domestic difficulties will promptly destabilize the Posse Comitatus Act if it continue as it is – unrestricted. Trivial exemptions to the Posse Comitatus Act could rapidly develop into major exemptions. For an instance, in 1981, Congress made an exemption to the Posse Comitatus Act to sanction military participation in drug outlawing in the United States borders, later on, in 1989, Congress assigned the Department of Defense as the â€Å"single lead agency† in drug banning endeavors.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The Posse Comitatus Act criminalizes, efficiently prohibiting, the utilization of Army or of the air Forces as a â€Å"posse comitatus† to implement the laws and regulations of US, it states: Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or 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 (Young, 2003).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   While a criminal law, the Posse Comitatus Act has a more significant function as a declaration of policy which represents the traditional American principle of the division among military and civilian authorities, which also happens o be one of the most vital guidelines of the United States form of government (Rossi, 2002).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Major as well as trivial exemptions to the Posse Comitatus Act which permit the utilization of the military in law implementation tasks, distort the line which separates the tasks of the civilians from the military officials, destabilize civilian jurisdiction of the military, injure military alacrity, and ineffectually solve the difficulties that they allegedly deals with (Rossi, 2002).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Moreover, amplifying the functions of the military would fortify the federal law implementation equipment which is at present, under close inspection for straining its power. While it appears to be kind, such augmentations in military influence renew the terror of past exceeds in limitations which occurred in the late 1960’s (Rossi, 2002).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   As was mentioned earlier, the Posses Comitatus Act of 1878 occurred as an immediate response to the escalating use of the military for tasks meant for civilians during the Reconstruction period. On numerous instances military troops were called upon to suppress civil commotions, to aid in creating governments in the southern states, as well as to implement civil laws and regulations. This topic came to a start when Rutherford Hayes came triumphant in the questionable presidential election which took place in 1876. Allegations were rapidly made that military troops which were sent to southern states acted as a posse comitatus (power of the people) for federal marshals at the polls played a role in giving the President the required vote he needed to win the election. In 1878, a Democrat controlled house of Representatives approved an army appropriations bill (20 Stat 145, 152) which hold language specifically banning the use of military troops as a posse comitatus, the act as a result, discarded the Mansfield Doctrine that military army could be put into use in civilian roles provided that they were subject to civilian laws and associated the use of the army with martial law. The things included in the said act basically, stayed unchanged save for the addendum of the Air Force in 1956 (70A Stat 626 (1956), however the Congress has made some developments to the some of the constitutional exemptions to the act (ex. 10 USC 331, 10 USC 332, and the like) (Young, 2003).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The Posse Comitatus act provided two situations in which the Act could be disregarded; when an exemption is specifically approved by the Constitution and when Congress specifically permitted an exemption. The first of the said stipulations has generated much perplexity in the use of the Act especially since the Constitution holds no condition specifically allowing the utilization of the army to implement the law of the land. Majority of the texts discussing the constitutional exemptions of the Posse Comitatus act centers on the clash between the indirect and intrinsic constitutional influence and control of the President. This is mainly because the President also happens to be the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces (Baker, 1999).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The next condition which permits the exemptions to the Posse Comitatus act is Congressional approval, and it has been put into use in two ways. First is by providing a division of the armed services with civilian law enforcement capacities, and second by setting up rules for detailed kinds of aid, on so doing, modifying explicit constitutional exemptions to correspond to particular situations (Baker, 1999).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In the 1st case Congress has specifically allowed the coast guard to execute law enforcement tasks during peacetime, most particularly of anti-drug laws (14 USC 2) which had also been mentioned earlier in this paper. During wartimes power for the Coast Guard passes on from the Department of Transportation to the Navy, yet under the constitutional exemptions made by Congress the Coast Guard could still perform its law enforcement tasks, it should also be taken into account that the Navy and Marine corps have been subjected to the Act in question by DoD Directive 5525.5 (1986, as amended in 1989) as well as by Secretary of the Instruction (SECNAVINST) 5820.7B (1988) (Isenberg, 2002).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Secondly, congress has passed several sections of legislation allowing the use of the army backing and apparatus in helping civilian law enforcement (10 USC 371-82), majority of this legislation was derived in 1981 following the state of affairs in the â€Å"Wounded Knee†.   These state of affairs stalked from the 1973 occupation of a facility on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and the following blockade, capture, and hearing of the American Indian Movement, throughout the course of the blockade the federal civilian law enforcement officials made widespread use of information, personnel, and apparatus offered by the army. The support offered by the army eventually resulted to the weakening of the indictments against those people who had been seized, and it became apparent that Congress have to deal with the necessity for constitutional prohibitions to the original act, in addition to the legal exemptions regarding offering civil law enforcement with help at times of civil disturbance (10 USC 331, 10 USC 332). The guidelines spread under the decrees offer for the conservation of federal possessions and government roles, and permits the use of army in state of emergency when civil officials are incapable to control the state of affairs, further legislation has been passed including situations when nuclear materials is involved in the emergency (Young, 2003).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   It may seem that the Posse Comitatus Act 1878 represents the principle of the explicit division between the army and civilian forces, a tenet which had been a fundamental constituent of the US history. However, it is fascinating to take into notice that one has ever been found guilty with infringement of 18 USC 1385, and as could be seen in the first part of this paper, Congress is quick in making exemptions for the sudden intrusion of the army (most notable of which is the campaign against drugs) and this constant use of the army as well as the Congress amendment of the Act to use the military had been constant source of controversy up to this point in time. Works Cited Baker, Bonnie. â€Å"The Origins of the Posse Comitatus.† (1999) December 8, 2007   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/home.htm. Isenberg, David. â€Å"Posse Comitatus.† (2002) December 8, 2007   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/pcomitatus-pr.cfm. Price, Lori R., and Michael D. Rectenwald. â€Å"The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.† (2007)   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   December 8, 2007 http://www.legitgov.org/. Rossi, C. T. â€Å"The Posse Comitatus Act: Can We Maintain American Freedom Without It?†   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   (2002) December 8, 2007 http://www.enterstageright.com/. Young, Stephen. â€Å"The Posse Comitatus Act.† (2003) December 8, 2007 http://www.llrx.com/.

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