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Senator Perdue Should Stand with Constitution, Vote to Reject Trump’s Unconstitutional Emergency Declaration Power Grab

 

The Senate is poised to join the House and vote for the resolution blocking President Trump’s unconstitutional and unpopular emergency declaration. With leading conservative voices and constitutional scholars joining the majority of both chambers in opposing Trump’s power grab, Senator David Perdue should declare whether he intends to stand with President Trump’s fake emergency declaration or with the constitution and the proper separation of powers?

In Georgia, observers are highlighting why Senator Perdue should stand with the Constitution and against Trump’s unconstitutional power grab:

Steve Deming of Clermont, GA writes to the Gainesville Times:

Trump shouldn’t divert funds to build wall

Fortunately, it appears that the federal government will be open at least until Feb. 15.

If he doesn’t get his wall funding in that time, the president seems headed toward declaring a national emergency to divert funds from what they were allocated for by Congress so he can build his wall, which is unnecessary but will fulfill his campaign promise — except for the fact that during the campaign he said that Mexico would pay for the wall. Evidently that check got lost between Mexico City and Washington.

We now, and hopefully will continue to, operate in a Madisonian democracy comprising three branches of government. Sequentially in the Constitution they are legislative, executive and judicial. The legislative branch is responsible for allocating funds, which it does not seem willing to do regarding Trump’s wall.

There are many reasons for this, including the fact that a large portion of the land that would be needed to build the wall on is not owned by the federal government. That is one of the many reasons not to build the wall that Trump promised during the campaign.

Just because Congress is not willing to allocate funds for Trump’s wall, it doesn’t mean that he can just declare a national emergency to get what he wants.

The larger issue here is the Madisonian democracy we are governed under, and if the president is allowed to divert funds allocated by Congress, what else will he do? And what doors does that open for the current president and future presidents?

The national emergency law was implemented to allow presidents to act in an emergency situation, such as President George W. Bush did after 9/11.

The reality of this situation is that there is no compelling case for building this wall at all, due to all information available.

I would respectfully ask everyone to think this situation over; and contact your members of Congress and let them know your thoughts.

Matthew T. Mangino writes in an op-ed for the Augusta Chronicle:

Congress and the President Donald Trump reached a bipartisan deal to avert a government shutdown. The recent 35-day shutdown was the longest in U.S. history. The deal only includes $1.375 billion for border barriers and increased border security – far short of the $5.7 billion President Trump had demanded.

… There are legitimate reasons to declare a national emergency. Usually, those reasons are clear and beyond debate – a catastrophic natural disaster, a threat from a foreign nation or war – but, a border wall?.

… Chief Justice Roger Taney issued a ruling that President Lincoln did not have the authority to suspend habeas corpus. Lincoln didn’t respond, appeal or release any prisoners. Lincoln was defiant, insisting that he needed to suspend the writ in order to save the union.

Five years later, the Supreme Court held that only Congress could suspend habeas corpus and that civilians were not subject to military courts, even in times of war.

Lincoln was not the first or last president to ignore the law during times of legitimate crisis. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt following the attack on Pearl Harbor and throughout World War II.

It took the federal government 40 years to address Roosevelt’s abuse of power. Each camp survivor was awarded $20,000 in compensation by the government.

… The National Emergencies Act is woefully limited. First it doesn’t define what an emergency is and requires only that the president specify the statute under which he’s acting. Second, the Act provides that Congress must meet every six months to vote on whether the emergency declaration is still necessary, a task the Congress has never taken up since the law was enacted.

In announcing his intention to vote for the resolution against President Trump’s declaration, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) detailed his reasons in an op-ed on the Fox News website, titled “I support President Trump, but I can’t support this National Emergency Declaration.

There are really two questions involved in the decision about emergency funding. First, does statutory law allow for the president’s emergency orders, and, second, does the Constitution permit these emergency orders?  As far as the statute goes, the answer is maybe — although no president has previously used emergency powers to spend money denied by Congress, and it was clearly not intended to do that. But there is a much larger question: the question of whether or not this power and therefore this action are constitutional.

…To my mind, like it or not, we had this conversation.  In fact, the government was shut down in a public battle over how much money would be spent on the wall and border security.  It ended with a deal that Congress passed and the president signed into law, thus determining the amount. Congress clearly expressed its will not to spend more than $1.3 billion and to restrict how much of that money could go to barriers.  Therefore, President Trump’s emergency order is clearly in opposition to the will of Congress. Moreover, the broad principle of separation of powers in the Constitution delegates the power of the purse to Congress. This turns that principle on its head.

…I must vote how my principles dictate. My oath is to the Constitution, not to any man or political party. I stand with the president often, and I do so with a loud voice. Today, I think he’s wrong, not on policy, but in seeking to expand the powers of the presidency beyond their constitutional limits. I understand his frustration. Dealing with Congress can be pretty difficult sometimes. But Congress appropriates money, and his only constitutional recourse, if he does not like the amount they appropriate, is to veto the bill.