WMTV Madison: Bill would allow Governor to sue over deployment of Wisconsin Guard

"Safeguard" The Guard

A proposal would allow the Governor to sue over deployment of national guard.

WMTV - Madson  Video here...

March 9, 2010
By Zac Schultz

Madison: Wisconsin's National Guard units have made dozens of somber deployments and happy homecomings since the war in Iraq started in 2003. Each time, the President issued an order federalizing the guard unit.

A proposal at the Capitol would require Wisconsin's governor to review each of those orders to make sure they were legal. If the governor thought the order was illegal, he could sue in federal court to stop the deployment.

Rep. Spencer Black (D-Madison) says he can envision a scenario where congress authorizes the use of military force, but years later the reason has shifted. "If the mission had changed so dramatically, or the President had exceeded the authorization, then the governor would have reason to go to federal court and see if that would be what's right and proper."

Many peace groups around the country think current national guard deployments to the middle east are illegal, because when Congress authorized the use of force in Iraq in 2002 it was for the purpose of finding weapons of mass destruction and removing Saddam Hussein.

Now those missions have been accomplished and some groups think congress should have to issue new authorization before they deploy the national guard for peacekeeping and nation building.

"I have questions about the legal structure for the Iraq war in particular," says Rep. Michael Fisher, a legislator from Vermont who started this movement in that state.

But the bill ran into a lot of questions from other lawmakers at a public hearing. "My concern is that this could delay resources for deployed soldiers, and by that we'd be putting them at risk," says Rep. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon).

"So at what point is it illegal?" asked Rep. Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids).

"Why are we here?" asked Rep. Dan Meyer (R-Eagle River). "Now we're going to have each governor-is going to review what Congress has decided to do? Is that what we're going to do here?"

A spokesperson for the Wisconsin National Guard says they do not have an comment on this proposal; they will follow whatever laws are passed.