How to survive under martial law

How to survive under martial law

One of the great dangers we may face in an emergency situation may not be a plague, natural disaster or even foreign invaders. The thing that may stand between the people and survival may be our own military during a time of martial law. During a time of martial law the very constitution that protects our freedoms would be suspended giving unchecked power and authority to the military. Now anyone with the slightest bit of intelligence would agree that a single person is no match for the skills, tactics and resources of our military – so how can you stand a chance against such military might? By going under the radar.

How To Stay Under The Radar

What if we had a government of arrogant elitists who thought they knew best for us? What if they lived like kings, while the people suffered economic hardships? What if they forced their agenda on the people despite public outcry and opinion against the agenda? What if they forgot they are supposed to serve the people, not rule the people (Jefferson would roll in his grave)? What if they decided not to leave office when voted out? What if they declared martial law? Would you be prepared? I know that self reliant people would have an advantage– especially those familiar with low profile living.

What could you face under martial law?

  • Suspensions of rights and civil laws
  • Internment or imprisonment
  • Restrictions on movement and curfews
  • Shortages and rationing
  • Seizures of property
  • Nationalization of everything

Think none of this could happen to you?

  • Rome, one of the greatest empires the world has known– fallen
  • Russia had a revolution to overthrow the ruling classes, and then was ruled by the Party elite (who lived like the princes they overthrew) for 70+ years
  • Germany suffered a destroyed economy and hyperinflation– they got the Nazi’s and a madman dictator
  • Great Britain saw the sun set on the empire

I should probably add the Byzantine and Ottoman empires– both fallen.

What To Do When Martial Law Is Imposed

So martial law is imposed– do you have what you need under that contingency?

  • Stored supplies and tools (Hopefully hidden and secret)
  • Means of alternate communications (Some might be controlled or unavailable)
  • Hiding places for stores or people (Want to keep it or stay free?)
  • A form of currency (Not necessarily cash)
  • Knowledge, skills, and education (Particularly low profile living techniques)

That last one is a big one (It is a key reason for this Low Profile Living site– over at the Self Reliance Workshop, we champion know-how).

Let me expand on that, DDFD is a keen observer and student of human behavior. I once asked a Jewish friend why the Jewish people put such a strong emphasis on education. His answer didn’t necessarily surprise me, but it has always stuck with me. He said that the Jews have been persecuted for centuries and their property and freedoms taken. The one thing that couldn’t be taken from them was their education, skills, and knowledge. Those things can be taken elsewhere, to other countries, and they could start over, building a new life. Powerful stuff!

If martial law was declared, it would be time to start a low profile living lifestyle. Get skilled up and be prepared! Remember, never, say never.

The law surrounding the concept is complicated and unsettled. Congress should pass legislation that better defines its scope.

Martial law has been declared more than 60 times in U.S. history, mostly by state and local officials. However, the concept has no established definition. The limited Supreme Court precedent on martial law is old, vague, and inconsistent. No federal statute defines what the term actually means. As a result, the exact scope and limits of martial law are dangerously unclear. Congress and state legislatures must enact new laws that better define them.

What is martial law?

In the United States, martial law usually refers to a power that, in an emergency, allows the military to take the place of the civilian government and exercise jurisdiction over civilians in a particular area. But “martial law” has no established definition, because across history, different people have used the term to describe a wide variety of actions, practices, or roles for the military. The law governing it is complicated and unsettled — and, as a result, the concept has never been well understood.

Can the U.S. president declare martial law?

The Supreme Court has never clearly stated whether the federal government has the power to declare martial law, and if so, whether the president could unilaterally declare it or whether it would require congressional authorization. However, the Supreme Court’s 1952 ruling in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company v. Sawyer provides a framework for analyzing exercises of executive power — and would likely be used by a court to determine whether a president’s martial law declaration has exceeded executive authority.

According to Youngstown, when Congress has addressed an issue by passing a statute, the president cannot act against Congress’s will — as expressed in the statute — unless the Constitution gives the president “conclusive and preclusive” power over that issue. When it comes to domestic deployment of the military, Congress has expressed its will in two ways. First, it has enacted a wide variety of laws that regulate when and where the military may be used domestically. These laws are so comprehensive that Congress has “occupied the field,” meaning that if the president were to use the military domestically in a way that Congress has not affirmatively authorized (such as by declaring martial law), it would effectively be against Congress’s will. Second, and more specifically, the Posse Comitatus Act makes it illegal for federal military forces to participate in civilian law enforcement activities — the exact sort of activities that are associated with martial law — unless Congress has provided express authorization.

In short, Congress has placed clear and wide-ranging restrictions on the president’s ability to use the military domestically. A presidential declaration of martial law would violate these rules. The Constitution does not grant the president “conclusive and preclusive” power over the issue of domestic military deployment. On the contrary, it gives most of the relevant authority to Congress. Therefore, under Youngstown, the president would not have the constitutional authority to override the restrictions Congress has put in place, and a unilateral declaration of martial law would not survive a legal challenge.

What has Congress said about martial law?

There are no existing federal statutes that authorize the president to declare martial law. However, while Congress has passed a multitude of laws related to domestic military deployment, these laws do not only create restrictions. Congress has also given the president considerable authority to use troops domestically in ways short of martial law. The Insurrection Act, and potentially Title 32 as well, allow the president to deploy the military to assist civilian authorities with law enforcement activities virtually whenever and wherever the president chooses. In some scenarios, a deployment of troops under these statutes might appear similar to a declaration of martial law. These ambiguities and the breadth of the president’s statutory authority point to the need for Congress to pass legislation that better defines the scope and limits of presidential powers — both for martial law and for other domestic uses of the military.

Does the Constitution apply under martial law?

Yes. The federal government is bound at all times by the Constitution. Even under martial law, the government cannot suspend or violate constitutional rights. Additionally, martial law declarations are subject to judicial review. For example, if the federal government places a state or territory under martial law, individuals detained by the military can ask a federal court to order their release by petitioning for the writ of habeas corpus. Subsequently, if a court considers the petition, it can decide whether the declaration of martial law was constitutional in the first place.

The law surrounding the concept is complicated and unsettled. Congress should pass legislation that better defines its scope.

Martial law has been declared more than 60 times in U.S. history, mostly by state and local officials. However, the concept has no established definition. The limited Supreme Court precedent on martial law is old, vague, and inconsistent. No federal statute defines what the term actually means. As a result, the exact scope and limits of martial law are dangerously unclear. Congress and state legislatures must enact new laws that better define them.

What is martial law?

In the United States, martial law usually refers to a power that, in an emergency, allows the military to take the place of the civilian government and exercise jurisdiction over civilians in a particular area. But “martial law” has no established definition, because across history, different people have used the term to describe a wide variety of actions, practices, or roles for the military. The law governing it is complicated and unsettled — and, as a result, the concept has never been well understood.

Can the U.S. president declare martial law?

The Supreme Court has never clearly stated whether the federal government has the power to declare martial law, and if so, whether the president could unilaterally declare it or whether it would require congressional authorization. However, the Supreme Court’s 1952 ruling in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company v. Sawyer provides a framework for analyzing exercises of executive power — and would likely be used by a court to determine whether a president’s martial law declaration has exceeded executive authority.

According to Youngstown, when Congress has addressed an issue by passing a statute, the president cannot act against Congress’s will — as expressed in the statute — unless the Constitution gives the president “conclusive and preclusive” power over that issue. When it comes to domestic deployment of the military, Congress has expressed its will in two ways. First, it has enacted a wide variety of laws that regulate when and where the military may be used domestically. These laws are so comprehensive that Congress has “occupied the field,” meaning that if the president were to use the military domestically in a way that Congress has not affirmatively authorized (such as by declaring martial law), it would effectively be against Congress’s will. Second, and more specifically, the Posse Comitatus Act makes it illegal for federal military forces to participate in civilian law enforcement activities — the exact sort of activities that are associated with martial law — unless Congress has provided express authorization.

In short, Congress has placed clear and wide-ranging restrictions on the president’s ability to use the military domestically. A presidential declaration of martial law would violate these rules. The Constitution does not grant the president “conclusive and preclusive” power over the issue of domestic military deployment. On the contrary, it gives most of the relevant authority to Congress. Therefore, under Youngstown, the president would not have the constitutional authority to override the restrictions Congress has put in place, and a unilateral declaration of martial law would not survive a legal challenge.

What has Congress said about martial law?

There are no existing federal statutes that authorize the president to declare martial law. However, while Congress has passed a multitude of laws related to domestic military deployment, these laws do not only create restrictions. Congress has also given the president considerable authority to use troops domestically in ways short of martial law. The Insurrection Act, and potentially Title 32 as well, allow the president to deploy the military to assist civilian authorities with law enforcement activities virtually whenever and wherever the president chooses. In some scenarios, a deployment of troops under these statutes might appear similar to a declaration of martial law. These ambiguities and the breadth of the president’s statutory authority point to the need for Congress to pass legislation that better defines the scope and limits of presidential powers — both for martial law and for other domestic uses of the military.

Does the Constitution apply under martial law?

Yes. The federal government is bound at all times by the Constitution. Even under martial law, the government cannot suspend or violate constitutional rights. Additionally, martial law declarations are subject to judicial review. For example, if the federal government places a state or territory under martial law, individuals detained by the military can ask a federal court to order their release by petitioning for the writ of habeas corpus. Subsequently, if a court considers the petition, it can decide whether the declaration of martial law was constitutional in the first place.