The other week I watched an e-documentary on the different types of laws we have within America. The United States. One of the topics covered briefly is martial law. It was clear that it’s a kind of law I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about, which led me to inquire:
The Three Types of Martial Law
Martial law is often difficult to comprehend since it is not defined precisely. It isn’t mentioned within the U.S. Constitution and can be implemented differently based on the circumstances. There are no laws of Congress that declare martial law.
Military Assists With Non-law Enforcement Functions
In the first kind of military law, the army can aid civilian authorities in tasks that are not law enforcement. This is usually the case following catastrophic incidents or natural disasters when the magnitude of the situation is too vast for the civilian authorities to handle effectively.
Military Assists With Law Enforcement Functions
In the second form of the law of war, the military can aid civilian authorities in enforcing the law. This kind of law is typically used when a serious conflict within a community has resulted in destruction and violence. When the civil authorities are not able to take back command of their situation, in this case, the military may be called in to help the law enforcement until a time when the civilian government can manage the issue by itself.
Military Replaces Civilian Government
In the third form of martial law, the government completely takes over the civilian government. This is usually the type of martial law that people consider when they talk about martial law. The military is in charge of drafting and enforcing the law, which includes the power to present civilians who are not military before a military tribunal.
How Is Martial Law Declared?
Martial law is a law that can be declared at the state or national level. In the case of state-level, the law is usually decided by the governor and the President of the United States at the federal level.
There are other scenarios where Congress could be able to make martial law. The power of martial law is limited by several Supreme court rulings between the American Civil War and World War II.
What Limits Are Placed on Martial Law?
The President is expected to announce martial law following the Insurrection Act of 1807. This law allows the present U.S. President to deploy national guard troops and separate military units under certain situations, like civil disorder, insurrection, or rebellion. This Insurrection Act is used infrequently and was last used in the administration of President George H. W. Bush during the 1992 Los Angelos riots.
Examples of Martial Law in the United States
Martial law was only declared 68 times in U.S. history. Only two of these occasions were in the context of war or invasion. They occurred in 1814, before the Battle of Orleans, and in 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In both instances, the third martial law was employed, and the military took full control of the local government.
Martial law was issued seven times during domestic conflict or insurrection. The most recent instance of this occurred in the Jaybird-Woodpecker War in 1889, in which two Democratic factions of the party fought to take control in Fort Bend County in Texas.