John Warner Defense Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2007

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In the 109th Congress, the John Warner Defense Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R.5122) was considered. Among other things, the bill effectively allows the president to define the conditions under which martial law may be declared.


Current status

The bill passed in late 2006 and was signed into law by President Bush on October 17, 2006. It will take effect on October 1, 2007.

Article summary (how summaries work)

The bill contains a provision, Section 1076, which allows the president to:

“...employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to...

  1. Restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States..., where the President determines that,...domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order;
  2. Suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy...”

Opposition in Congress

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), then the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with others, condemned Section 1076. They argued that the bill effectively nullified the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C. 331-335), giving the president the legal ability to define under what conditions Martial law may be declared. [1]

Criticisms and commendations




Recent actions

Articles and resources

See also


  1. Gar Smith, "Towards a Police State in America: Will the "October Surprise" Come on November 7th?," Centre for Research on Globalization, November 6, 2006.

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