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...many provisions of law exist in various jurisdictions, which take effect only upon an executive declaration of emergency; some 500 federal laws take effect upon a presidential declaration of emergency. The National Emergencies Act regulates this process at the federal level. It requires the President to specifically identify the provisions activated and to renew the declaration annually so as to prevent an arbitrarily broad or open-ended emergency. Presidents have occasionally taken action justified as necessary or prudent because of a state of emergency, only to have the action struck down in court as unconstitutional.
The National Emergencies Act (Pub.L. 94–412, 90 Stat. 1255, enacted September 14, 1976, codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1601-1651) is a United States federal law passed to stop open-ended states of national emergency and formalize the power of Congress to provide certain checks and balances on the emergency powers of the President. The Act of Congress imposes certain procedural formalities on the President when invoking such powers. The perceived need for the law arose from the scope and number of laws granting special powers to the executive in times of national emergency. The H.R. 3884 legislation was passed by the 94th United States Congress and signed by the 38th President of the United States Gerald R. Ford on September 14, 1976. The Act authorized the President to activate emergency provisions of law via an emergency declaration on the conditions that the President specifies the provisions so activated and notifies Congress. An activation would expire if the President expressly terminated the emergency, or did not renew the emergency annually, or if each house of Congress passed a resolution terminating the emergency. After presidents objected to this "Congressional termination" provision on separation of powers grounds, it was replaced in 1985 with termination by an enacted joint resolution. The Act also requires the President and executive agencies to maintain records of all orders and regulations that proceed from use of emergency authority, and to regularly report the cost incurred to Congress.
One law that could appear to give Mr Trump the potential to invoke emergency powers for the wall is a little-known law called the Insurrection Act. It allows the president to deploy troops inside the US to suppress any “unlawful combinations” or “conspiracies” that “obstructs or hinders the execution of the law”. The statute, however, does not define the terms, making it vague enough to potentially use against undocumented migrants crossing into the US from Mexico. Legal powers available to the president are “ripe for abuse” during a national emergency, Ms Goitein said, adding: “There’s no legal definition of emergency, no requirement that Congress ratify the decision, and no judicial review.” Much like Mr Trump’s travel ban, a wall built using emergency powers would almost certainly face a litany of legal challenges, giving courts the opportunity push back against the president’s authority.
“Ultimately he has no constitutional authority to exercise the power to build this wall without Congress’ approval,” Lessig said. “These statutes were certainly not written with the intent to give a man like Donald Trump the power that he’s now claiming.”
The United States Code (Title 42, Chapter 68, Subchapter I, §5122), now defines emergency and major disaster as follows:
"Emergency means any occasion or instance for which, in the determination of the President, Federal assistance is needed to supplement State and local efforts and capabilities to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States.
"Major disaster means any natural catastrophe (including any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought), or, regardless of cause, any fire, flood, or explosion, in any part of the United States, which in the determination of the President causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant major disaster assistance under this chapter to supplement the efforts and available resources of States, local governments, and disaster relief organizations in alleviating the damage, loss, hardship, or suffering caused thereby."
originally posted by: infolurker
a reply to: FilthyUSMonkey
Yeah, I doubt we would ever see worst case barring a truly catastrophic event like WW3, Asteroid strike, or Yellowstone blowout.
The moment the president declares a “national emergency”—a decision that is entirely within his discretion—he is able to set aside many of the legal limits on his authority. Unknown to most Americans, a parallel legal regime allows the president to sidestep many of the constraints that normally apply. The moment the president declares a “national emergency”—a decision that is entirely within his discretion—more than 100 special provisions become available to him. While many of these tee up reasonable responses to genuine emergencies, some appear dangerously suited to a leader bent on amassing or retaining power. For instance, the president can, with the flick of his pen, activate laws allowing him to shut down many kinds of electronic communications inside the United States or freeze Americans’ bank accounts. Other powers are available even without a declaration of emergency, including laws that allow the president to deploy troops inside the country to subdue domestic unrest.
examples include Franklin D. Roosevelt’s internment of U.S. citizens and residents of Japanese descent during World War II and George W. Bush’s programs of warrantless wiretapping and torture after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Abraham Lincoln conceded that his unilateral suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War was constitutionally questionable, but defended it as necessary to preserve the Union. The Supreme Court has often upheld such actions or found ways to avoid reviewing them, at least while the crisis was in progress. Rulings such as Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company v. Sawyer, in which the Court invalidated President Harry Truman’s bid to take over steel mills during the Korean War, have been the exception
originally posted by: FilthyUSMonkey
a reply to: Grambler
Yeah, I have never looked at this particular presidential power before. It looks like it was set up to give the president powers needed to repel an full scale invasion in a timely manner, before the congress could react. The powers implied are immense.
The wording of the The National Emergencies Act, which was suppose to restrain the powers of the president are still so vague as to render any president a possible dictator for a short time, if required by the emergency. This is some pretty serious stuff that should be well considered by every American.
Thanks for the input.
originally posted by: JinMI
a reply to: FilthyUSMonkey
Would be nice to see that discussion take place in the upper echelons of US gov't.
However we have full toddler behavior in place. A solid yes and a solid no.
There are now 32 states of national emergency pending in the United States, with the oldest being a 1979 emergency declared by President Jimmy Carter to impose sanctions during the Iran hostage crisis. Most are used to impose economic sanctions — mostly as a formality, because Congress requires it under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
In his term in office, Obama has declared 13 new emergencies, continued 21 declared by his predecessors and revoked just two, which imposed sanctions on Liberia and Russia.
As of today, 28 emergencies remain in effect. The list still includes the first emergency authorized under the act—President Jimmy Carter’s 1979 emergency, declared ten days after Iranian students took American diplomats hostage in Tehran. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump renewed the emergency for the 38th time.
Why have seven presidents extended the 1979 emergency 38 times? It, along with a second emergency declared in 1995 to implement the oil embargo, forms the basis for many of the United States’ sanctions on Iran. The president’s (and thereby the the Treasury Department’s) power to impose sanctions for foreign policy purposes comes from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). IEEPA was passed one year after the National Emergencies Act, and it grants the president sweeping economic power in response to “any unusual and extraordinary threat, which has its source in whole or substantial part outside the United States, to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.” But IEEPA doesn’t supplant the National Emergencies Act. Rather, the president may take advantage of IEEPA powers only if he declares a national emergency (with respect to that foreign threat) under the National Emergencies Act.
In fact, 26 of the 28 national emergencies currently active invoke IEEPA.