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Governors oppose letting president unilaterally federalize Guard in emergencies

[JURIST] US governors attending the annual meeting of the National Governors Association [official website] that got under way Saturday in Charleston, South Carolina, are opposing a bill [NGA letter] in Congress that would allow the president to take over the National Guard [official website] without the consent of governors during emergencies. The House version [text] of the National Defense Authorization Act includes a measure removing the traditional requirement that the president gain the consent of governors before federalizing the Guard. Gov. Kathleen Blanco [official website] of Louisiana told reporters that "Federalization just for the sake of federalization makes no sense... Just making quick decisions can make things happen." Gov. Mark Sanford [official website] of South Carolina agreed, saying that "the idea of federalizing yet another function of government in America is a, the wrong direction, and b, counterproductive."

The proposal is a reaction to the chaos that ensued after the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005. The Senate has not yet voted on the bill. AP has more.

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