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Senators Lee and Romney Should Stand with Constitution, Vote to Reject Trump’s Unconstitutional Emergency Declaration Power Grab

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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, Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney should declare whether they intend to stand with President Trump’s fake emergency declaration or with the constitution and the proper separation of powers?

In Utah, observers are highlighting why Senators Lee and Romney should stand with the Constitution and against Trump’s unconstitutional power grab:

The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board writes, “There is no crisis at the border”:

There is no crisis on the U.S-Mexico border. Fox News can’t even provide the pictures. But the president of the United States has declared a formal national emergency, an excuse for an unconstitutional power grab so he can build, or plan to build, or pretend to build, a multi-billion-dollar wall along that frontier.

First he tried shutting down the government for more than a month — an economically disastrous month for both innocent government employees and the whole of the nation — in an attempt to get $5 billion for his foolish wall project.

When that didn’t work, the president capitulated to a new spending bill Friday, only to immediately announce that, Congress and the Constitution be damned, he was going to scare up $3.6 billion that had been allocated for military construction projects and add another $3 billion from accounts that are, arguably at least, within the president’s power to reallocate.

…But the real crisis, to the extent there is one, is felt not by Americans, even in border towns such as El Paso, but by desperate, downtrodden and dirt-poor refugees who have every treaty, legal and human right to seek asylum in this land of asylum-seekers. The president’s repeated abuse of real pain felt by real people, including Americans who have really been victimized by drug gangs, is a disgrace.

…One glimmer of hope this week is that some of the president’s fellow Republicans, notably Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. Chris Stewart, are at least furrowing their brows in response to this phony national emergency and that they and other Republicans might — just might — stand up to the president and reassert their constitutional powers.

If not them, who? If not now, when?

The Deseret News editorial board argues, “Trump’s national emergency is the opposite of expediting help at the border”:

If President Donald Trump is hoping to expedite construction of a border wall, declaring a national emergency is a great way to ensure that doesn’t happen.

…Congress shoulders most of the blame for thrusting the courts into the political realm. The current judicial climate is a result of years of Congress abdicating authority and punting on hard issues. The immigration situation is a salient example of such inaction.

Although there is no discernible crisis at the border in the vein of the president’s talking points, that doesn’t discount the reality that border security needs help.

One of the actual emergencies concerns families and the inability of border agents and infrastructure to handle an influx of women and children. Many of those families are asylum-seekers, who U.S. law permits to enter the country. Taking care of their basic needs while streamlining the review process are the most pressing matters to address.

An extended wall could be a necessary part of a larger border overhaul that includes more agents, better infrastructure for detainees and asylum-seekers, technological advances, drone monitoring and better surveillance at ports of entry. A physical impediment could also slow down sex traffickers enough for agents to apprehend the culprits, according to some experts.

But process matters, and unilateral action is more likely to get tangled up in courts than create the lasting fixes the country needs to start restructuring its immigration systems.

…Congress reclaiming its proper power will prevent judges from donning political capes, keep them in judicial robes and provide the much-needed check on the executive branch. Lawmakers should respond to the president by quickly convening and beginning work on real immigration solutions. Debates, votes and amendments won’t happen overnight, but committed lawmakers could surely make progress happen sooner than justices deliberating on the bench.

Thom Filgo of Sandy, UT, in a letter to the editor to the Salt Lake Tribune, asks the pertinent question: “Will Sen. Mike Lee cave in on Trump’s emergency?”

While Lee will point to the Constitution whenever it fits his agenda of claiming federal overreach, I wonder how he will interpret this “national emergency” declaration.

While the pressing GOP issues under President Barack Obama were health care and our national debt, it seems we’ve quickly moved on to more pressing emergencies. Like trying to deliver on at least one of Trump’s campaign promises, even if he has to usurp the Constitution, Congress and the American people to do it.

The truth is, Lee knows in his heart that Trump’s declaration violates both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution. I wonder how he will vote when the next democratic president declares a climate change emergency?

Care to make it interesting?

Mark Gardiner of Salt Lake City, UT in a letter to the editor to the Salt Lake Tribune: “The president’s emergency declaration is an affront to the Constitution”:

It’s hard to say if the president’s decision to declare a national emergency is grounded in incompetence, immaturity, bad advice, a failure to see that he is pointlessly establishing a precedent that other presidents will follow to their own ends, ignorance of the Constitution and the role of the legislative branch, or a disrespect for the will of the majority that is the foundation of our democratic republic.

It is simply mind-boggling that funds allocated to projects approved by the legislative branch should be withdrawn to fund a project that was specifically disapproved again and again.

This declaration of a false emergency to fund a boondoggle project to be built only following the settlement of endless lawsuits must be rejected by the Senate.

As a Washington Post editorial stated this weekend, “the Senate must decide whether it will defend its prerogatives from this wayward White House … For the good of the country — and out of institutional self-respect — senators should reject Mr. Trump’s emergency declaration.”

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.