Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Governor Sues to Retain Control of Air Guard Unit

Blumenthal: Guard "Successor to Our Militia"

Gov. Rell is leading a group of plaintiffs suing the Department of Defense and the BRAC commission to prevent the removal of a unit of Connecticut Air National Guard A-10s from Bradley. The rationale:

...Rell and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Monday that the transfer would violate constitutional and statutory provisions barring such a move without Rell's consent.

Pennsylvania last week persuaded a federal judge to halt a similar realignment of planes assigned to its Air Guard.

"There is an important principle here that goes back to the first days of the Republic. The National Guard is the successor to our militia," Blumenthal said. "We are guaranteed a militia by the United States Constitution." (Pazniokas)

This is a case to watch for a few reasons. For instance, if this suit is successful, and its demonstrated that state governors have control over state National Guard units... how far does that control go? If the DoD, which represents the federal government and the president, can't order the troops to disband or relocate out of state without the approval of the governor, does it follow that they can't be asked to relocate overseas, as well? Could they, for instance, order troops currently fighting in Iraq to come home?

Also of interest is that in both this case and in the high-profile suit against the Department of Education, Rell has begun to eclipse Blumenthal as Lawsuit Filer in Chief. These are normally moves that would give Blumenthal a lot of press coverage, but lately most of the attention has been directed towards the governor instead. Rowland was never this active in the state's various lawsuits. Why is Rell?

It could be that suing the federal government is also a political move for her. It doesn't hurt to distance herself from Rowland's precedents as well as Republicans in Washington, especially as she (probably) prepares to run next year.

Pazniokas, Mark. "State Files Suit Over Air Guard." Hartford Courant 30 August, 2005.


stomv said...

The other side of the coin is:

Can the DoD "disband" the unit and leave the state responsible for complete funding, including:
* procuring land
* procuring weapons
* paying salaries
etc? I mean, Rell doesn't have to let the DoD close the Air Guard unit, but can she make the DoD still pay for it?

Genghis Conn said...


A very good point. I'm not entirely sure where CTNG funding comes from.

Anonymous said...

Who owns the planes?