Can the president declare a national emergency on the southern border to begin construction on a border wall? President Trump has expressed hesitancy to do so, dampening several days of heated media debate over whether such an action would be legitimate.
While the media gushed soundbites and hasty conclusions, John Malcolm, the Vice President for Heritage’s Institute for Constitutional Government, thoroughly explained why the current law does give the president this power.
Traditionally, Congress designates national emergencies, but some 136 statutes give the president extraordinary powers to do so. These are not mere temporary powers; 31 emergencies declared by former presidents remain in effect today.
If the president were to declare an emergency, it would surely be challenged in court. But, Malcolm concludes, the president does have a strong legal basis to act if he so chooses.
It’s people like John Malcolm who help Heritage cut through the false assertions and wild exaggerations to tell the truth about the law and the president’s authority. Thank you for enabling us to bring facts and clarity to the debate on border security.
Should the president declare a national emergency, or should he secure a deal with Congress first?