A law last updated 150 years ago gives presidents dangerous authority to use the U.S. military as a domestic police force. The Insurrection Act has virtually no limits on when and how this power can be used, making it a loaded weapon in the hands of any leader, Democrat or Republican, who is tempted to abuse it. Without urgent reforms, the law is a threat to civil liberties — and American democracy. 

Join us on Thursday, July 25, at 3 p.m. ET for a live virtual event moderated by Elizabeth Goitein, senior director of the Brennan Center Liberty & National Security Program, featuring lawyer and writer Hawa Allan, Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith, and Brennan Center counsel Joseph Nunn. The panel will shed light on a president’s alarming powers under the Insurrection Act and examine possible solutions to prevent the law’s misuse. 


  • Hawa Allan, Author, Insurrection: Rebellion, Civil Rights, and the Paradoxical State of Black Citizenship
  • Jack Goldsmith, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Joseph Nunn, Counsel, Brennan Center Liberty & National Security Program
  • Moderator: Elizabeth Goitein, Senior Director, Brennan Center Liberty & National Security Program