View Sidebar
State of Emergency

State of Emergency

January 8, 2019 9:43 pmComments are Disabled

If Trump decides he’s going to use a ‘state of emergency’ to fund his border wall, well, he might end up actually, finally crossing the line.

The line is the difference between a democratically elected president doing something that the opposition, and even many in his own party, find distasteful or deplorable–crackdown on immigration and immigrants, emboldening far-right nationalists, and so on–and the same president using his power to force his agenda through without the consent of Congress.

It’s the difference between a crook–albeit an elected crook–and a tyrant. Between a wannabe dictator and an actual dictator. As Andrea Pitzer observes, the state of emergency has always been used as a justification for greater tyrannies, including in our own country when we locked up 120,000 Japanese Americans without due process.

No, Mr. President, you can’t do what you want without congressional authorization. Even the oft-called ‘illegal’ war in Iraq was authorized by an act of Congress. We have a system of checks and balances for a reason.

If Trump declares a state of emergency, we will see if our institutions are as strong as we all hope they are. We’ll see if Republicans and Democrats in Congress can come together to finally rein in the power of the executive branch. We’ll see if enough elected Republicans actually have the ability and courage to dissent. We’ll see if the president’s electorate, with their historical skepticism of governmental overreach, will finally object.

Because if not, it may not be long before none of us can object anymore.

Comments are closed