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Court Says U.S. Has Final Power Over Guardsmen

June 29, 1989|From Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — The federal government, not state governors, has the final authority over the deployment of National Guard troops outside the United States, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an amendment that prohibits governors from withholding consent to send troops outside the country because of objections to the location, purpose, type or schedule of active duty.

"We hold that the Constitution does not require gubernatorial consent to active duty for training of the National Guard of the United States," the court said in its 7-2 opinion.

The original lawsuit was filed on behalf of Minnesota Gov. Rudy Perpich by Hubert H. Humphrey III, the state's attorney general. Minnesota was joined in the suit by the states of Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio and Vermont.

Opposing them was the Defense Department, which was joined as friends of the court by the National Guard Assn. of the United States and the states of Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi and Missouri.

In 1985 and 1986, several governors objected to deployment of National Guard personnel to Central America. The governors withheld or threatened to withhold their consent to federally ordered active duty missions by their states' National Guard units.

In response, Congress enacted the Montgomery Amendment, which prohibits the governors from withholding consent.

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