While the Government Fiddled Around, the Big Easy Drowned: How the Posse Comitatus Act Became the Government's Alibi for the Hurricane Katrina Disaster

26 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2006 Last revised: 10 Nov 2008

Candidus Dougherty

Rutgers School of Law - Camden

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

This Article analyzes how the government's blame of the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) for its late response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster was misplaced. In Part One, I discuss the history of the Posse Comitatus Act, including a summary of some of its many judicial and congressional expansions. In Part Two, I apply the PCA to the Hurricane Katrina Disaster to show that, under its proper application, the PCA does, in fact, permit the lawful use of the military for humanitarian purposes. Based on this analysis, I conclude that we should focus our efforts less on the Posse Comitatus Act and more on fixing the real problem behind the delayed rescue of the New Orleanians.

Keywords: Posse Comitatus Act, domestic law enforcement, Wounded Knee, Katrina

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Dougherty, Candidus, While the Government Fiddled Around, the Big Easy Drowned: How the Posse Comitatus Act Became the Government's Alibi for the Hurricane Katrina Disaster (2008). Northern Illinois University Law Review, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=938249

Candidus Dougherty (Contact Author)

Rutgers School of Law - Camden ( email )

NJ
United States

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