Are State Lockdowns Legal?
President Trump – rightly or wrongly – is not the first American chief executive to challenge the power of state governments. Someone named Abraham Lincoln did that 160 years ago which led to a brutal fratricide known as the American Civil War. Lincoln refused to allow the Confederate States of America to secede from the Union, despite the fact that there was nothing in the Constitution specifically prohibiting such an action. President Eisenhower sent federal troops into Little Rock in 1957 to enforce court-ordered school desegregation. President Kennedy did the same when he nationalized the Alabama National Guard in 1963 to force Governor Wallace to allow the entry of black students to the University of Alabama. Throughout the Civil Rights Revolution of the 1960s and the busing crises of the early 1970s, numerous examples abound of the federal government – either the executive or the courts – intervening to stop state governments – especially in the South – from obstructing desegregation orders and all but seizing control of local school systems.
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