Dukakis Loses Appeal Challenging U.S. Authority Over National Guard

Associated Press

Democratic presidential candidate Michael S. Dukakis, who attempted to use his power as governor of Massachusetts to block a National Guard training mission in Central America, lost an appeal Tuesday challenging federal authority over the Guard.

The U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals issued a one-sentence order affirming a decision by U.S. District Judge Robert Keeton on May 6 that upheld federal supremacy over the Guard.

Dukakis filed suit in January to block the assignment of 13 public relations specialists in the Massachusetts National Guard to Honduras and Panama for two weeks in May because of his opposition to Reagan Administration policies in the region.

Dukakis has denounced the Administration during his presidential campaign for its “failed and illegal” policy of supporting the Nicaraguan Contras. He said sending Guard troops to the region was an attempt to intimidate Nicaragua.


After Keeton issued his ruling in May, Dukakis appealed but did not try to stop the Massachusetts Guard members from participating in the road-building exercises.

Keeton’s decision upheld the constitutionality of the Montgomery Amendment, a 1986 act of Congress that says governors may not decline such assignments “because of any objection to the location, purpose, type or schedule of such activity.”