Read the two articles associated with this discussion board that are attached and also listed in the content section and labeled “discussion board articles.” Then address the following:
Since last Spring, after the death of George Floyd, there has been, as you probably know, nationwide protests against police brutality, and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter as a political force. Protests have been particularly serious in Portland, Oregon (and still ongoing). Over the summer, the federal government sent in law enforcement agents to deal with the protests — it is not all that clear who these agents were (they were not military), probably agents associated with the Department of Homeland Security, although they wore no identifying insignias on their uniforms. This has led to violent confrontations, and what many argue are excessively aggressive actions by these federal agents against protesters.
Here’s the question I want you to address (and read this carefully to avoid getting a poor grade for addressing the “wrong” issue):
Does the federal government have the authority, under the Constitutional principles of federalism, to use federal law enforcement agents to address protests (that have led to vandalism and violence) in a local community — i.e., the city of Portland)? If so, under what Constitutional authority are they operating? If not, why not?
Historically, federal law enforcement does not operate in local communities unless there is a clear federal issue (for example, the FBI investigating federal crimes), have been invited in by state governors or local mayors to supplement local law enforcement, or to protect federal property (in this case, the federal courthouse in Portland). There is a federal law called the “Insurrection Act” that gives the president the authority to use federal agents where the situation has become so dangerous as to require federal intervention, but it has rarely been used and only in extreme situations. The City of Portland’s mayor and the Oregon state governor not only did not request federal agents, but openly opposed their presence, and continuously demanded the federal agents vacate the city (which they eventually did).
My “be careful” warning is this — this discussion is not about the merits of the protests, the Black Lives Matter movement, the right to protest, or what you think about either the President or the protesters. It is not about whether these protesters are radical socialists bent on destroying the American way of life, or whether the President is throwing his weight around to bolster his re-election. These are important issues, but not relevant to this assignment. What I’m asking is whether the federal government has this power to intervene in what is traditionally a local law enforcement matter under the reserved powers of states and, if you think they do, what legal and Constitutional justification they have to do so.