A couple of Florida's GOP congressmen, lead by first term Rep. Sandy Adams, read some crazy conspiracy theories on the Internet about how Obama was going to enslave us all into military conscription and forced labor, and decided to file an actual resolution about it. Obviously Allen West is involved.
For 60 years the president has had powers to increase his powers "in the event of a potential threat" like times of war or natural disaster. The same version of this law has been in place since Bill Clinton's term in office, but President Obama decided to update it to reflect the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Otherwise, Obama didn't give himself any powers his predecessors didn't have.
For some reason, right-wing muckrakers wanted you to think he did. The Drudge Report posted a link to a story with the title, "Martial Law?" The right-leaning Washington Times and World News Daily also published bizarre articles about it. "EXECUTIVE-ORDER PANIC: MARTIAL LAW IN THE U.S.?," read the WND headline in dramatic all caps.
Apparently, Orlando-area Rep. Sandy Adams read about this and decided to do something about it. So, according to the Orlando Sentinel, she has "filed a nonbinding resolution specifying what Obama cannot do with the order -- including institute a draft, confiscate personal property and 'force civilians to engage in labor against their will or without compensation.'"
The resolution now has 37 co-sponsors. Six Republicans from Florida have signed on, including Allen West.
To put it bluntly however, legal experts think the resolution is bullshit.
"It's valid to be concerned that the president has too many powers that are justified by national-defense needs," Benjamin Friedman, a defense expert with the libertarian Cato Institute, told the Sentinel. "But this executive order doesn't change much compared to prior executive orders that Republican and Democratic presidents have put in place."
Good use of your time Florida Republicans.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.