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Wed Oct 9, 2019, 01:14 AM

The Alarming Scope of the President's Emergency Powers



https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/01/presidential-emergency-powers/576418/

snip

But will they? 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.

This edifice of extraordinary powers has historically rested on the assumption that the president will act in the country’s best interest when using them. With a handful of noteworthy exceptions, this assumption has held up. But what if a president, backed into a corner and facing electoral defeat or impeachment, were to declare an emergency for the sake of holding on to power? In that scenario, our laws and institutions might not save us from a presidential power grab. They might be what takes us down.

1. “A LOADED WEAPON”

The premise underlying emergency powers is simple: The government’s ordinary powers might be insufficient in a crisis, and amending the law to provide greater ones might be too slow and cumbersome. Emergency powers are meant to give the government a temporary boost until the emergency passes or there is time to change the law through normal legislative processes. Unlike the modern constitutions of many other countries, which specify when and how a state of emergency may be declared and which rights may be suspended, the U.S. Constitution itself includes no comprehensive separate regime for emergencies. Those few powers it does contain for dealing with certain urgent threats, it assigns to Congress, not the president. For instance, it lets Congress suspend the writ of habeas corpus—that is, allow government officials to imprison people without judicial review—“when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it” and “provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.”

Nonetheless, some legal scholars believe that the Constitution gives the president inherent emergency powers by making him commander in chief of the armed forces, or by vesting in him a broad, undefined “executive Power.” At key points in American history, presidents have cited inherent constitutional powers when taking drastic actions that were not authorized—or, in some cases, were explicitly prohibited—by Congress. Notorious 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. And while those exceptions have outlined important limiting principles, the outer boundary of the president’s constitutional authority during emergencies remains poorly defined.

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Alarming Scope of the President's Emergency Powers (Original post)
Celerity Wednesday OP
Grasswire2 Wednesday #1
Celerity Wednesday #2
Miguelito Loveless Wednesday #12
dchill Wednesday #3
Celerity Wednesday #4
dchill Wednesday #5
Celerity Wednesday #6
dchill Wednesday #7
Celerity Wednesday #8
Miguelito Loveless Wednesday #13
NCLefty Wednesday #9
Celerity Wednesday #10
Lock him up. Wednesday #11

Response to Celerity (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 01:20 AM

1. Best to stop him yesterday. nt

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Response to Grasswire2 (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 01:23 AM

2. he will do ANYTHING to cling to power, if we do not start working off this premiss, we are fucked

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Response to Grasswire2 (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 03:32 AM

12. That ship has sailed

The time to have stopped was long ago, but folk were to busy listening to pundits and “taking impeachment off the table”.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 01:38 AM

3. He's saving that for November of next year.

I wish I was completely kidding.

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Response to dchill (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 01:48 AM

4. October I wager.

Maybe even September.

Not kidding either.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #4)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 01:50 AM

5. Of course. He won't want to move too late.

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Response to dchill (Reply #5)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 01:56 AM

6. +1

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Response to Celerity (Reply #6)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 01:59 AM

7. Of course, with the scope of emergency powers...

...He could declare his loss an emergency. Any time before the states certify.

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Response to dchill (Reply #7)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 02:25 AM

8. eeeek, did not even think of that nt

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Response to dchill (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 03:33 AM

13. Yep

Cancelling elections, or posting the military and/or police in Democratic precincts will be his go to move to “stop illegal voting”.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 02:33 AM

9. I think he might be getting tired of playing president on TV. He knows he sucks at it, hence all the

bragging to convince people he's great at it.

He doesn't want to lose, of course, but he doesn't want to have the rest of his term/terms consumed with endless investigations from Dems either. It seems to us like he's unstoppable atm but I don't think he's having any fun at this point. That might be a stealth factor that's not being considered here. :p

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Response to NCLefty (Reply #9)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 02:43 AM

10. he LIVES for chaos and graft and the naked pursuit of raw power and hate

He will never tire of it, and he is a cornered beast, who is ferally aware that as soon as his fat orange arse is out the doors of the ultimate power, he is fucked.

I put NOTHING past him.

Plus, whilst I used to dismiss it as another ridiculous conspiracy theory, I actually am coming to believe he is all drugged up on serious speed of some sort(s). That further leads to his already manifest psychological imbalance and paranoia.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Wed Oct 9, 2019, 02:47 AM

11. Don't give them any ideas they might try...

Although I don't think the Pentagon would go along at this point (yes, they can see what's going on and who the ignorant moron really is: A coward (Vietnam) who lies all the time and who doesn't know anything about the Constitution).

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