November 30, 2011 Oakland CA
by Olivia X. LaRosa
My head is spinning. Sixty US Senators just voted for a bill that allows citizens to be detained without due process of law. (1) The military is assigned the authority to manage these US citizens as it pleases, out of the public eye. Likely many of them will end up in private prisons without recourse to any legal remedy.
It kinda feels like a military-industrial-congressional complex coup.
Until now, I always thought that the Supreme Court would overturn such a law based on the precedent of Posse Comitatus Act. Now, I worry.
The Posse Comitatus Act (2) was enabled in June of 1878. It forbids local law enforcement to call on the Army or Air Force to enforce the laws of the land.
The Act was passed after the Tilden/Hayes election compromise, which heralded the end of Reconstruction. Federal Troops had remained stationed in the former Confederacy until 1877. They were withdrawn after Rutherford B. Hayes became President, as part of the Faustian bargain cut to give Hayes the nod.
The Posse Comitatus Act protects states and inhabitants from the possibility of a military coup as well as limiting the imprisonment of political opponents.
Looks like we lost that one, folks.