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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 193962 Find in a Library
Title: Federalism and the Battle over Counterterrorist Law: State Sovereignty, Criminal Law Enforcement, and National Security
Journal: Studies in Conflict & Terrorism  Volume:25  Issue:1  Dated:January 2002  Pages:1-18
Author(s): Laura K. Donohue; Juliette N. Kayyem
Date Published: January 1, 2002
Page Count: 18
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines State measures against terrorism.
Abstract: State measures derive from the same incidents that spur Federal attention. They reflect the heightened awareness of terrorism and the increasingly expansive use of the term. Three categories of specific measures adopted by the States are legislation prohibiting support for international terrorist organizations, legislation focusing on the actual or threatened terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and legislation defining terrorism. Because terrorist acts are criminal acts, States historically have executed jurisdiction over these areas. However, terrorist acts often entail more than criminality. They encompass issues of national security, foreign affairs, and domestic defense -- areas not typically falling within State jurisdiction. The Federal government should speak with one voice on issues that encompass a variety of governmental needs and functions, like terrorism. While States approach terrorism from the legal perspective, the Federal Government must send a message to terrorist organizations regarding the boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable conduct. The group of laws that discuss domestic preparedness should be understood to enable the States to address consequence management in the event of a terrorist or WMD attack. But both legal and policy considerations suggest that States ought to exercise caution when venturing into the counterterrorist realm. The primary goal of the States and the Federal Government is to maintain an effective and sound policy. United States efforts to combat terrorism need to be coherent and without domestic contradictions that would make Federal policy difficult to defend to other countries. They need to be flexible so that the Federal Government can be free to use other avenues, not just the law, in combating terrorism. And they need to be legitimate so that these efforts are defendable and democratic. 78 notes
Main Term(s): Antiterrorist laws; State laws
Index Term(s): Criminal codes; Human rights violations; Laws and Statutes; Personal Security/Self Protection; State government; Terrorism/Mass Violence
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