Obama’s Executive Order, released last week, was discussed on Hannity this week. It seems the EO remains unnumbered at this time. Lanny Davis who today is a Democrat strategist, and previously served as Special Counsel to Bill Clinton is on the panel with attorney Jay Sekulow from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Sekulow goes first and explains that the main difference in this Executive Order, which is an update on other similar EO’s since the 1950’s is that it gives much broader authority to the President than ever before by instituting the Stafford Act, which regulates civilian emergency peparedness. According to Sekulow, the very definition of National Defense has been changed. I’m not nearly smart enough to figure out what in the Stafford Act, administered by FEMA, effects presidential power to institute Stafford. A guess, and only a guess, is a possible violation of Posse Comitatus. More on that below. And questions not addressed: Can civilians be drafted into the Military for labor requirement? Someone thinks so. And, this is an Executive Order, and so…there is no Congressional Oversight.
JAY SEKULOW: This gives the President much broader authority than any of the previous acts. The previous acts did not incorporate the Stafford Act, which is the Civilian situation, where the President has unlimited authority, subject to checks and balances. We cannot ignore the checks and balances. But the definition of National Defense is broader than it has ever been under any previous Executive Orders. That’s the most significant aspect.
Hannity asks why, after all these years, Obama would change Section 801(j)?
Lanny Davis has an incredible answer, the kind of answer only a Democrat would give:
LANNY DAVIS: Not a significant risk to America. I don’t know why he changed those particular provisions, but President Obama will not abuse it.
(j) “National defense” means programs for military and energy production or construction, military or critical infrastructure assistance to any foreign nation, homeland security, stockpiling, space, and any directly related activity. Such term includes emergency preparedness activities conducted pursuant to title VI of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5195 et seq., and critical infrastructure protection and restoration.
The Stafford Act [Public Law 100-707] was amended in June 2007 and is administered by FEMA. On the FEMA website, the Act is described this way:
Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, PL 100-707, signed into law November 23, 1988; amended the Disaster Relief Act of 1974, PL 93-288. This Act constitutes the statutory authority for most Federal disaster response activities especially as they pertain to FEMA and FEMA programs.
The Posse Comitatus Act forbids Government from using the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force against civilians in this country. The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are not forbidden by the Act, but are forbidden by authority of the Department of Defense. The U.S. Coast Guard is under the authority of The Department of Homeland Security.
801(j) says “National Defense” means programs for military (and other Departments) for “emergency preparedness” “pursuant to [the Stafford Act].
In my original post post on the National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order (NDRP) I said the following, and so far have not been found to be wrong:
Obama clarifies in March 2012 EO, that in the case of an National Emergency the government can take everything you have: your food and water and weapons, your manufacturing, construction businesses and farms, and their equipment and supplies , the country’s energy, our civil transportation. They can abscond with your fertilizers. The Government can expand or modify your privately owned business, force Government-owned equipment into your facility, and hijack your labor field. AND they can do this at anytime of an emergency or in times of peace.
The Government can also forcibly draft U.S. citizens into the military and force U.S. citizens to fulfill “labor requirements” for the purposes of “national defense.” There is not even any Congressional oversight allowed, only briefings.
I cannot explain how FEMA has authority to use the Stafford Act, and how the EO makes a difference in the President’s powers, but it apparently does something, as Sekulow believes this greatly broadens presidential powers. Find ACLJ here.
Sean Hannity with Jay Sekulow and Lanny Davis on the Latest Obama Executive Order – National Defense Resources Preparedness (video)