President Obama signed a proclamation on October 23, 2009 declaring the Swine Flu a national emergency (view the proclamation). The question on the minds of many in alternative news circles and forums is whether or not this means that Martial Law is soon to follow and constitutional rights are to be stripped.
With swine flu being “widepsread” in 46 states as of this writing, it is uncertain exactly what steps the government can and will take. The Presidential proclamation authorizes emergency medical action to be taken under Social Security Act 1135, and seems to limit any emergency powers to this Act.
While the Federal government certainly has the power to enforce Martial Law and suspend constitutional protections, it is important to note that the United States has been in a state of National Emergency since September 14, 2001 per Presidential Proclamation 7463. Incidentally, this was extended by President Obama for another year as of September 10, 2009. Additionally, President Bush declared a National Emergency during Hurricane Katrina in Proclamation 7924. During these time periods, unless a violation fell under the umbrella of the Patriot Act, constitutional rights have remained generally intact.
WorldNetDaily, in their article Swine flu emergency! What does that mean?, concludes
“But even if there really is a plot to manipulate the H1N1 virus scare into enforcing a sweeping expansion of federal power, today’s “national emergency” falls far short of martial law. “