On Friday morning, President Donald Trump announced that he would be declaring a state of emergency on the US-Mexico border and unilaterally appropriating funds to pay for his border wall.
It’s not clear if he can actually do that: The Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the ultimate power to appropriate money. The president legally has the power to declare emergencies and respond, but can he do that in a situation where Congress has explicitly declined to fund the president’s wall?
According to Elizabeth Goitein, an expert on national security law, the answer is that he can’t — and Trump’s attempt to do so constitutes a “constitutional crisis.”
Goitein is the co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan but liberal-leaning legal nonprofit. Her research focuses on balancing national security and constitutional rights, which makes her pretty well-positioned to evaluate the president’s claim. In a series of tweets, she made the case that declaring an emergency on the border constitutes a power grab that directly threatens the constitutional order.
Here’s the argument, which focuses not only on Trump but on the underlying laws that enable him to declare an emergency in the first place:
One thing is practically certain: Goitein’s arguments will be tested in court. Someone will try to sue Trump to stop the emergency declaration; House Democrats already have a plan for a legal challenge, per the Washington Post. Then it’ll be up to the courts to decide if she’s right.
0.00 (0%) 0 votes