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Thread: Emergencies Do Not Trump the Constitution

  1. #1

    Emergencies Do Not Trump the Constitution

    Emergencies Do Not Trump the Constitution

    Written by Ron Paul
    Monday February 25, 2019

    After Congress rejected President Trump’s request for 5.7 billion dollars for the border wall, the president declared a national emergency at the southern border. Present Trump claims this “emergency” gives him the authority to divert funds appropriated for other purposes to building the border wall.

    President Trump’s emergency declaration is not just an end run around Congress. It is an end run around the Constitution. Article One of the Constitution gives Congress sole authority to allocate federal funds.

    While President Trump’s order may be a particularly blatant abuse of power, it is hardly unprecedented. Most modern presidents have routinely used so-called national emergencies to expand their power, often at the expense of liberty. For example, Present Franklin Delano Roosevelt used “emergency powers” to justify internment of Japanese-Americans during World War Two.

    President Trump, like other recent presidents, is relying on the 1976 National Emergencies Act for legal justification for his emergency declaration. This act gives the president broad powers to declare national emergencies for almost any reason. All the president need do is inform Congress he has declared an emergency. Once the emergency is declared, the president simply needs to renew the declaration once a year to maintain a state of emergency. Since this act passed, 59 emergency declarations have been issued, with 31 of those still in effect.

    Another statute giving the president broad “emergency” powers is the Defense Production Act. Under this law, the president can force private businesses to produce goods for the military. The law also enables the president to impose wage and price controls and even make loans to private businesses. All a president need do to invoke these vast powers is submit “findings” to Congress that “national security” requires the president seize near-dictatorial control of certain industries or even the entire economy. According to the Congressional Research Service, some presidents have invoked the Defense Production Act without making the required findings to Congress, and the act has been used to justly federal interference in areas having little or nothing to do with national defense.

    Section 606(c) of the Communications Act gives the president “emergency” power to seize control of every television network, radio station, smartphone, laptop, and other electronic devices.

    Emergency powers are not the only means by which presidents violate the Constitution. The 2001 authorization for use of military force (AUMF), which only authorizes the president to use force against those responsible for the September 11 attacks, has been used to justify military interventions that have no relationship to those attacks. The 2001 AUMF has been used to justify mass surveillance, indefinite detention, and even “kill lists.” Fortunately, Representative John Garamendi has introduced the Walter B. Jones Restoring Power to Congress Act that would pay tribute to a true champion of peace by repealing the 2001 AUMF.

    Many neoconservatives and progressives who defended prior presidents’ abuses of power are critical of President Trump’s emergency declaration. These “never-Trumpers” will no doubt resume their love affair with the imperial presidency when the Oval Office is again occupied by someone who shares their agenda.

    This week, the House of Representatives will vote on a resolution terminating President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency. Hopefully, this precedent will be used against all future presidents who use spurious claims of national emergencies to expand their powers and shrink our liberties.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    You only show up to attack Trump when he is wrong
    DACA S**thole Dreamers - Make America Great Again?



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  3. #2
    This should be repealed for sure;

    1976 National Emergencies Act

    I do appreciate Ron including the fact that this 'emergency' declaration is not unique to #45, we can
    see the danger when we have Nancy Peyote running around threatening to apply it to the 2nd Amendment.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    This should be repealed for sure;

    1976 National Emergencies Act
    Perhaps. But my understanding is that that act actually decreased presidential emergency powers. They were able to do more before that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    I do appreciate Ron including the fact that this 'emergency' declaration is not unique to #45
    Notice what he says there though. He's saying that the use of emergency declarations to expand presidential power is not new, speaking generally. He's not saying that any previous presidents have ever successfully used declaring an emergency to allocate funds to something Congress refused to fund, like what Trump is trying to do. In that article by Judge Nap posted recently he talked about a case when Truman tried to do it and the Supreme Court struck it down. So far, none of the people who insist that there's precedent for Trump's executive order have been able to find any, unless we're just speaking very generally like RP is here.

    It's also interesting that he goes all the way back to FDR for his example, rather than finding one that has been declared since the 1976 law was passed.

    I keep seeing people comment that Trump's emergency declaration is pursuant to that law. But I can't find any provision in that law that allows him to do it, and all the forum posters who keep repeating the line that it's in there can't find it either. Nor are any of the emergency declarations that any presidents have made since that law was passed attempts to spend money contrary to the way Congress allocated it, like Trump's is.
    Last edited by Superfluous Man; 02-25-2019 at 09:11 AM.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    Perhaps. But my understanding is that that act actually decreased presidential emergency powers. They were able to do more before that.




    Notice what he says there though. He's saying that the use of emergency declarations to expand presidential power is not new, speaking generally. He's not saying that any previous presidents have ever successfully used declaring an emergency to allocate funds to something Congress refused to fund, like what Trump is trying to do. In that article by Judge Nap posted recently he talked about a case when Truman tried to do it and the Supreme Court struck it down.

    It's also interesting that he goes all the way back to FDR for his example, rather than finding one that has been declared since the 1976 law was passed.

    I keep seeing people comment that Trump's emergency declaration is pursuant to that law. But I can't find any provision in that law that allows him to do it, and all the forum posters who keep repeating the line that it's in there can't find it either. Nor are any of the emergency declarations that any presidents have made since that law was passed attempts to spend money contrary to the way Congress allocated it, like Trump's is.
    So as in Obama's case (I haven't looked this up) none of his 'emergency' acts were without direct Congressional approval?
    If this is true as with other regime 'e a's ' , Trump is way off base.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    So as in Obama's case (I haven't looked this up) none of his 'emergency' acts were without direct Congressional approval?
    It's not that they were without direct congressional approval. It's that they didn't spend money that was directly disapproved by Congress.

    Here's the way Judge Nap put it in that article in the other recent thread:
    When the president acts pursuant to authority granted to him by the Congress in an area of government delegated to him by the Constitution, his authority is at its peak, and he is free to exercise it as he sees fit. When he acts in an area as to which the Congress has been silent, he acts in a twilight zone and can succeed only if the area of his behavior is delegated to him under the Constitution and if he enjoys broad public support.

    But when the president acts in an area that the Constitution gives exclusively to Congress — such as spending money — and when he acts in defiance of Congress, his acts are unconstitutional and are to be enjoined.
    There's plenty of precedent for executive orders on things "as to which the Congress has been silent." But the best example I've seen anybody bring up of one that was used to spend money "in defiance of Congress" is the one Nap mentioned that Truman tried that was struck down by the Supreme Court.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    It's not that they were without direct congressional approval. It's that they didn't spend money that was directly disapproved by Congress.

    Here's the way Judge Nap put it in that article in the other recent thread:


    There's plenty of precedent for executive orders on things "as to which the Congress has been silent." But the best example I've seen anybody bring up of one that was used to spend money "in defiance of Congress" is the one Nap mentioned that Truman tried that was struck down by the Supreme Court.
    It's not that they were without direct congressional approval. It's that they didn't spend money that was directly disapproved by Congress.
    Then are you saying Trump has direct Congressional disapproval?

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    Then are you saying Trump has direct Congressional disapproval?
    Congress cut wall spending out of the budget shortly before Trump did this. I'm not sure if they cut it all and put some back later, or if Trump's doing this allegedly because he had a specific figure in mind (the real reason is clearly distraction and division).

    All of Obama's were generally of the steal the assets of anyone suspected of sending funds to Libya/Syria/Iran/anyone else we want to depose type. I looked them up. You can too.
    Quote Originally Posted by angelatc View Post
    There's not a liberty lover on the planet who isn't called a liberal by the right, and a con by the left.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Only Q or a civil war will save us

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    Then are you saying Trump has direct Congressional disapproval?
    Yes. Before declaring this emergency he first tried to get Congress to provide him with the funding he wanted, and they refused. You may recall that we recently had a government shutdown. This negotiation between Trump and Congress for wall funding was the reason for it. Only after failing to get the money he wanted from Congress did he resort to declaring an emergency so that he could reallocate money they had allocated to other things, not to be spent on his wall.

    ETA: See also the first sentence of the OP.
    Last edited by Superfluous Man; 02-25-2019 at 09:50 AM.



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Constitution Article I section 7
    All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
    Swordshyll has been parroting the Official Alt-Blight line, which is, by passing the National Emergencies Act of 1976 the House appropriated an infinite supply of money which didn't exist yet for whatever any future president might desire. Makes for quite the liberal "Living Constitution", wouldn't you say?
    Last edited by acptulsa; 02-25-2019 at 11:45 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by angelatc View Post
    There's not a liberty lover on the planet who isn't called a liberal by the right, and a con by the left.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Only Q or a civil war will save us

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    Swordshyll has been parroting the Official Alt-Blight line, which is, by passing the Emergency Declarations Act of 1976 the House appropriated an infinite supply of money which didn't exist yet for whatever. Makes for quite the liberal "Living Constitution", wouldn't you say?
    Yes.

    He, and others here who have parroted that same argument, also can't point to where in the actual text of the law it says anything remotely like what they claim it says.

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    Yes. Before declaring this emergency he first tried to get Congress to provide him with the funding he wanted, and they refused. You may recall that we recently had a government shutdown. This negotiation between Trump and Congress for wall funding was the reason for it. Only after failing to get the money he wanted from Congress did he resort to declaring an emergency so that he could reallocate money they had allocated to other things, not to be spent on his wall.

    ETA: See also the first sentence of the OP.
    This explanation is not sounding any better than the one about Obama;
    Obama's acts (some of them) weren't approved, so he declared anyway.

    Trump;
    His act is not approved so he's attempting to declare anyway.

    I'm not at odds with the first statement of the op, the conversation was about Obama's acts vs Trumps act.

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    This explanation is not sounding any better than the one about Obama;
    Obama's acts (some of them) weren't approved, so he declared anyway.

    Trump;
    His act is not approved so he's attempting to declare anyway.

    I'm not at odds with the first statement of the op, the conversation was about Obama's acts vs Trumps act.
    There's a difference between something Congress was previously silent on and something Congress explicitly disapproved. In Trump's case it's not just that it was "not approved," as though he was trying to do something Congress had not yet had a chance to vote on because they weren't in session at the time or something. It was brought up to Congress and explicitly rejected.

    I don't think there are any emergency declarations of Obama's, or any other president (save for the example of Truman's that the Supreme Court struck down, discussed by Judge Nap) that are at all similar to Trump's in this respect. From what you said earlier, you don't know of any either. So what exactly are you talking about?

    Here's the list of all national emergencies delcared so far. The format doesn't lend itself to copying and pasting.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._United_States
    Last edited by Superfluous Man; 02-25-2019 at 10:49 AM.

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    There's a difference between something Congress was previously silent on and something Congress explicitly disapproved. In Trump's case it's not just that it was "not approved," as though he was trying to do something Congress had not yet had a chance to vote on because they weren't in session at the time or something. It was brought up to Congress and explicitly rejected.

    I don't think there are any emergency declarations of Obama's, or any other president (save for the example of Truman's that the Supreme Court struck down, discussed by Judge Nap) that are at all similar to Trump's in this respect. From what you said earlier, you don't know of any either. So what exactly are you talking about?

    Here's the list of all national emergencies delcared so far. The format doesn't lend itself to copying and pasting.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._United_States
    I asked you if Congress disapproved as in some kind of Blocking move, how is Obama's ignoring
    congress all together somehow much different that Trump's EO.

  16. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    I asked you if Congress disapproved as in some kind of Blocking move
    You're asking if Congress ever did that to Obama for one of his national emergencies like they did to Trump?

    No. I don't believe so.

    But I'm open to correction if anybody can find this missing precedent that so many people are convinced exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    how is Obama's ignoring
    congress all together somehow much different that Trump's EO.
    What's a specific example of Obama doing that? Without you giving any there's nothing to compare.
    Last edited by Superfluous Man; 02-25-2019 at 11:08 AM.

  17. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    You're asking if Congress ever did that to Obama for one of his national emergencies like they did to Trump?

    No. I don't believe so.

    But I'm open to correction if anybody can find this missing precedent that so many people are convinced exists.



    What's a specific example of Obama doing that? Without you giving any there's nothing to compare.
    You stated that Obama was never directly Blocked by Congress, so what.....

  18. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    You stated that Obama was never directly Blocked by Congress, so what.....
    Given the context of this discussion, by "blocked by Congress" I assume you are talking about Congress bringing funding the President wanted for something up for a vote, and voting not to give him as much as he wants for it, so that the president then declared a national emergency to spend that money anyway.

    As far as I know, none of Obama's emergency declarations were "blocked by Congress" (to use your phrase) like that. Neither has any other emergency declaration by any president (at least none that anyone has ever brought up in these discussions), except for that one example of Truman's that the Supreme Court shot down. Trump's was.
    Last edited by Superfluous Man; 02-25-2019 at 11:26 AM.



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  20. #17
    Many neoconservatives and progressives who defended prior presidents’ abuses of power are critical of President Trump’s emergency declaration. These “never-Trumpers” will no doubt resume their love affair with the imperial presidency when the Oval Office is again occupied by someone who shares their agenda.
    Exactly.

    And if Trump decided to call Venezuela or Iran "emergencies", neoconservatives would come up with every rationalization under the sun why one emergency is legal and another is unconstitutional. Marco Rubio and Mike Pence have probably already made the case.
    Twitter: B4Liberty@USAB4L
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    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  21. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    Given the context of this discussion, by "blocked by Congress" I assume you are talking about Congress bringing funding the President wanted for something up for a vote, and voting not to give him as much as he wants for it, so that the president then declared a national emergency to spend that money anyway.

    As far as I know, none of Obama's emergency declarations were "blocked by Congress" (to use your phrase) like that. Neither has any other emergency declaration by any president (at least none that anyone has ever brought up in these discussions), except for that one example of Truman's that the Supreme Court shot down. Trump's was.
    So Obama gives Congress no choice/option in the matter and this is somehow better or more constitutional
    than Trump's action?

    So when, since Obama, have emergency eo's required Congressional Approval , they haven't , does that make
    it constitutional , not in my view, but there is no appreciable difference between Obama's run away abuses
    and Trump's so called abuse.

  22. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    So Obama gives Congress no choice/option in the matter and this is somehow better or more constitutional
    than Trump's action?
    Again, what are you talking about?

    Is this a specific real-life thing Obama did that you have in mind? Or one you're making up?

    Without a real example, I don't see how we're supposed to make the comparison you're trying to make.

    If you want to talk more generically, then again, see the way Judge Nap put it:
    When the president acts pursuant to authority granted to him by the Congress in an area of government delegated to him by the Constitution, his authority is at its peak, and he is free to exercise it as he sees fit. When he acts in an area as to which the Congress has been silent, he acts in a twilight zone and can succeed only if the area of his behavior is delegated to him under the Constitution and if he enjoys broad public support.

    But when the president acts in an area that the Constitution gives exclusively to Congress — such as spending money — and when he acts in defiance of Congress, his acts are unconstitutional and are to be enjoined.
    Is the point you're trying to make that you see no difference between when the president "acts in an area as to which the Congress has been silent" and one in which he "acts in defiance of Congress"?
    Last edited by Superfluous Man; 02-25-2019 at 11:52 AM.

  23. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    there is no appreciable difference between Obama's run away abuses
    and Trump's so called abuse.
    If you agree that there's no appreciable difference then why do you refer to the one as "runaway abuses" and the other as "so-called abuse"?

    I don't think anybody here has claimed that Obama didn't have plenty of abuses of his own, just that there weren't any that provided precedent for the way Trump's using a national emergency declaration to spend more money on something than Congress was willing to allocate to it.

    Your own inability to find said precedent is a tacit concession of this point.

  24. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    If you agree that there's no appreciable difference then why do you refer to the one as "runaway abuses" and the other as "so-called abuse"?

    I don't think anybody here has claimed that Obama didn't have plenty of abuses of his own, just that there weren't any that provided precedent for the way Trump's using a national emergency declaration to spend more money on something than Congress was willing to allocate to it.

    Your own inability to find said precedent is a tacit concession of this point.

    So as in Obama's case .... none of his 'emergency' acts were without direct Congressional approval?
    If this is true as with other regime 'e a's ' , Trump is way off base. Straovarious

    It's not that they were without direct congressional approval. ...supman
    ...

  25. #22
    What part of, 'Obama's "emergencies" did not unconstitutionally allocate money,' is the alt-blight pretending not to understand?
    Last edited by acptulsa; 02-25-2019 at 12:23 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by angelatc View Post
    There's not a liberty lover on the planet who isn't called a liberal by the right, and a con by the left.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Only Q or a civil war will save us

  26. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratovarious View Post
    ...
    So you don't disagree with anything I've said?

    I have no idea what position you're arguing for now.

  27. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    So you don't disagree with anything I've said?

    I have no idea what position you're arguing for now.
    I think it's that other NPC argument. You know the one. Orange man gooder than Kenya man.
    Quote Originally Posted by angelatc View Post
    There's not a liberty lover on the planet who isn't called a liberal by the right, and a con by the left.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Only Q or a civil war will save us



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  29. #25
    Partisan Hack = Troll

    An ugly thing whether in the Republican or Democrat wing of the party. No wonder Ron Paul is no longer a Republican.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    You only show up to attack Trump when he is wrong
    DACA S**thole Dreamers - Make America Great Again?

  30. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by RonZeplin View Post
    No wonder Ron Paul is no longer a Republican.
    Source?

  31. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    Source?
    I could actually see the man relaxing in a nice, nonpartisan retirement. But, yeah, I never heard anything of the sort either.

    Maybe somebody saw him say, 'Orange man wrong,' and leaped to a conclusion? But he never let the capital R next to his name keep him from calling Republicans out before he retired, either.
    Last edited by acptulsa; 02-25-2019 at 01:54 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by angelatc View Post
    There's not a liberty lover on the planet who isn't called a liberal by the right, and a con by the left.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Only Q or a civil war will save us

  32. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    Source?
    Ron Paul says Republican Party is not my party

    Last week, Mitt Romney wowed conservatives at the Republican National Convention, but one Texas representative remains unimpressed.

    Former presidential candidate Ron Paul, who was described by the master of ceremonies at his Tampa campaign rally last Sunday as a “clean boat in a sea of garbage,” still has not endorsed the Republican presidential candidate.

    In an interview with Bloomberg, Paul even went so far as to say the Republican Party was not his party — and is, in many ways, irrelevant.

    “I do not like politics at all. I think both parties are Keynesian economists, and support positions that I do not like,” said Paul.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    You only show up to attack Trump when he is wrong
    DACA S**thole Dreamers - Make America Great Again?

  33. #29
    You do realize that he was a sitting Republican Congressman for the 14th district of Texas when he said that, right?

    That was said off the cuff to the 4,729th reporter to ask him why he hadn't endorsed Mitt Romney for president, dutifully taken out of context by the editors of SFGate. I hope you're not too insulted by my refusal to take it too seriously.
    Last edited by acptulsa; 02-25-2019 at 03:14 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by angelatc View Post
    There's not a liberty lover on the planet who isn't called a liberal by the right, and a con by the left.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Only Q or a civil war will save us

  34. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by RonZeplin View Post
    Ron Paul says Republican Party is not my party

    Last week, Mitt Romney wowed conservatives at the Republican National Convention, but one Texas representative remains unimpressed.

    Former presidential candidate Ron Paul, who was described by the master of ceremonies at his Tampa campaign rally last Sunday as a “clean boat in a sea of garbage,” still has not endorsed the Republican presidential candidate.

    In an interview with Bloomberg, Paul even went so far as to say the Republican Party was not his party — and is, in many ways, irrelevant.

    “I do not like politics at all. I think both parties are Keynesian economists, and support positions that I do not like,” said Paul.
    Oh, that's all. OK. Never mind.

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