Trump’s Flirtation With Emergency Powers Is Not Just About His Wall

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Slate Group, LLC




President Donald Trump has reportedly backed off for now from a proposal to invoke emergency powers under federal law or any “inherent” constitutional authority to build a wall along America’s southern border, even though Congress has refused to accede to this request. Still, Trump is maintaining that he retains the authority to make such a move, and it’s possible the frenetic commander in chief could change his mind again and whipsaw our nation into crisis the moment he gets impatient or feels slighted. Commentators, meanwhile, have rightly warned just how many federal laws actually do authorize certain kinds of emergency actions by a president. Others have pointed out differences between the current circumstances and other historical moments, such as Truman’s seizure of steel mills during the Korean War, or even Lincoln’s invocation of a national crisis to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.*

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