In authorizing the publication of a text’s hard-republican senator Tom Cotton, the New York Times raised a controversy and drew criticism from several members of his staff.
In an opinion piece published Wednesday, the senator Cotton invited the authorities to resort to an old law to deploy the military on the territory. If Cotton lamented with good reason the gestures particularly violent several protesters (such as that of a former police officer black 77-year-old, who was working as a security officer in a store mobbed by thugs), it is his “send in the troops” (send the army) that made him react.
The law speaks of Cotton is the Insurrection Act of 1807. If it is true that the act authorizes the president to deploy the military, the Cotton seems to forget that it’s main purpose is to regulate the power of the executive in this matter. Above all, it must be remembered that these are the governors of the States that must act first. Up to now, no such request has been made.
To the Insurrection Act, it is necessary to add another law, the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, if one wants to understand the constitutional and legal framework of the power of intervention of Donald Trump in the current context. The act of 1878 says that the army may not intervene in the affairs of the civil government, or in those of justice. You see, therefore, that the claims of the president Trump or those of Tom Cotton are limited.
- LISTEN to the chronicle of american policy Luc Laliberté at QUB radio:
What we reproach to the president and to the Cotton, this is to encourage once more a presidency authoritarian, a presidency that does not hesitate to use the army against its own citizens, and according to his will alone. It is this attitude that is the source of the accusations of fascism. It is there also that we find the origin of the criticism directed against the New York Times.
The defenders of the president argue very often that some of his predecessors have resorted to the army. For example, Lyndon Johnson (Detroit and Chicago, in 1967 and 1968) or George H. W. Bush (Los Angeles, 1992) have done so to restore order, but they always forget that, in each case, it was done at the request of the governors of the States concerned.
A or presidents, have they already sent the army without an explicit request of a governor? Yes. In recent history, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson did. These situations were they similar to the current context? No. If Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson were able to justify their interventions, it is that the affected States had challenged openly the federal government by refusing to submit to the judgments of the courts. I precise that, in each case, the interventions were related to the racial question. We refused to put an end to segregation.
As much as I consider here only the case of Cotton is low, as much as I sourcille noting the strength of the reaction against the New York Times. If you already know that I expect that the president and his supporters to respect the Constitution and the legislative framework, I believe that the Times has taken a right decision in publishing the text of Cotton.
Cotton is a member of the Senate. His opinion, however controversial may it be, must be read or heard. If it is so bad, that we should debate, and it shows. It was not an editorial position, but in the section “opinions”. No matter what say the critics of the Times, the respect of freedom of expression should be sufficient to support the direction of the venerable publication.
Today, the Times allows you to Michelle Goldberg react to Cotton, and it qualifies its about fascists. The accusation is serious. Should it also prohibit Goldberg? His text is, to a certain extent, educational, and it allows readers to further discussion. I am glad that it also publishes.