10 Quick Facts About The US Presidents Power To Declare a National Emergency

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Suspected smugglers attempted to drive over the U.S.-Mexico border fence stuck at the top of a makeshift ramp on Oct. 31, 2012, near Yuma, Arizona

It turns out that US Presidents have not been shy about declaring so called “National Emergencies” through history and there are things you should know.

Here are the quick facts about National Emergencies:

  1. Nothing can stop US President from declaring a National Emergency but acting on that declaration is another matter
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  2. As of January 2019 the US lives under 31 National Emergency declarations, the oldest is from Jimmy Carter in 1979
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  3. The right to declare a National Emergency was granted to the President By Congress
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  4. There are currently 123 specific circumstances in which the President is authorized to declare a National Emergency
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  5. us-mexico-border-wall-cutThe intent of these provisions was (and is) to give the President authority to act quickly when Congress is unable to.  For instance if a nuclear war were to start, there is no time to reconvene the US House of Representatives for an education cycle and vote
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  6. A National Emergency declaration has never been used to overturn the will of Congress
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  7. A declaration of a National Emergency has been (rarely) overturned in the courts.  For instance when Harry Truman wanted to nationalize the US steel industry to support the Korean War the US Supreme Court ruled that he did not have the authority
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  8. us-boarder-wall-mexicoThe President has virtually unlimited budget to spend in the event of a National Emergency because the law allows him to redirect previously approved military spending to the situation at hand
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  9. National Emergency laws are separate and distinct from the more unlimited powers granted to the President under War Powers
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  10. President Trumps statements that he will declare a National Emergency at a time where it is empirically clear that no emergency exists, Congress has lots of time to consider options and such declaration would go against the will of Congress has many Republicans and Democrats in congress publicly considering reducing the Presidential authority to use a National Emergency for vanity projects.

Watch this short video explaining the legal situation.

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