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2. Who Can Declare Martial Law

In the U.S., martial law may be declared by Congress or the President, according to interpretations by the Supreme Court. There are no direct references pertaining to martial law within the Constitution. However, it does grant powers to Congress to use the nation’s militia to execute its laws, and to “suppress insurrections and repel invasions.” The Constitution also names the President as the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy” and state militias when called into service for the country. Governors may also declare martial law within their own state under the powers granted by their state constitutions. In foreign countries, governments have historically invoked martial law to control mass protests or suppress political opposition.

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