by Mike Pyatt
Even with a pro “America first” President in the White House, who has the economy humming on all cylinders, our Republic’s still a bloated, over-regulated, out-of-control federal government. While Trump has aggressively slashed onerous regulations, we’re still run amok by staggering national debt, that obnubilates the profound wisdom of the fifty-five men who sat in the Philadelphia Convention in 1787, understood that a new constitution had to be crafted to provide for a national government with co-equal branches and balance of power for states. After President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, there’s a widening fissure, not just from the Left, but from GOP conservatives who are concerned the President has exceeded his constitutional authority. To date, sixteen Democrat state’s attorneys generals have jubilantly lined up to file suit in the friendly corridors of the U.S. Ninth District Court. Despite CNN’s tagline of “Orange Man Bad,” some think President Trump may prevail.
John Yoo, University of California at Berkeley law professor, former justice department lawyer in the Bush 43’ administration, remarked he’s “not a big fan of Trump or his immigration polices,” thinks “the Supreme Court will uphold the emergency declaration.” He cites the “only relevant” Supreme Court precedent, a challenge in 1981, to President Carter’s use of emergency power to block Iranian assets in the wake of the Iran hostage crisis. In an 8-1 ruling the High Court upheld Carter’s action. “The court never asked if the Iranian hostage was a real emergency.” Apparently the strength of Yoo’s opinion rides on the premise that you can’t define an emergency beforehand. That’s why it’s an emergency. Alan Dershowitz disagrees that it isn’t an emergency, maintaining an emergency’s something so sudden that the President had no choice but to declare it. Most of Trump’s base ardently champion his action, citing Congress’s failure to act. Co-founder Sean Davis, at The Federalist, rest his support of the President on two federal statues (50 U.S.C 1601 et.seq.) and (10 U.S.C 2808), under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, distinguishing that “should” is different than “can” President Trump.
Backing from the GOP has been schizophrenic. Senator Lindsay Graham publicly advocated for a shut-down, and concluded that Trump had no choice but to declare an emergency. At least five GOP senators, Lamar Alexander, Susan Collins, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Thom Tillis expressed opposition to the national emergency. They staunchly support stronger border security, but view the move as executive overreach, and potentially unconstitutional. A logical concern, according to Rubio, is “a future president may use that exact tactic to impose the Green New Deal.” Some GOP Senators are concerned where the “pots of money” come from, like James Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, “Military housing and all military installations are facing disrepair and poor conditions. We cannot afford to allow them to be further impacted.” There’s a group of twenty-two Senators up for reelection or retiring in 2020. Some face competitive races in 2020, that are considered battleground territory in a presidential election year, like GOP Colorado Senator, Cory Gardner, who hasn’t voiced an opinion yet. Those from conservative states that President Trump carried in 2016, worry that bucking him, invites an unwanted primary challenge. Is it principle or reelection stoking their opinions?
The landscape of those supporting the president isn’t as predictable as one may think. Republican Shelley Capito, moderate, W. Va., supports Trump’s move. Those who’ve expressed concerns, but haven’t, to date, taken a firm stance, like Wyoming’s Senator John Barrasso declared, “I’d prefer we get it done through the legislative process rather than presidential emergency because I just think that’s not the path we want to go down, and the president or every president can decide if they want to use that or not.” Texan GOP Senator John Cornyn, cautioned, “My concerns about an emergency declaration were the precedent that’s going to be established. I also thought it would not be a practical solution because there will be a lawsuit filed immediately.” President Trump already had the lawsuit baked into his decision. Nebraskan GOP Senator, Ben Sasse, “We absolutely have a crisis at the border, but as a Constitutional conservative I don’t want a future Democratic President unilaterally rewriting gun laws or climate policy.” Mike Rounds, S.D. GOP Senator agrees with Sasse, regarding unintended consequence of future action by political adversaries.
Should support of President Trumps’ declaration rely on one’s disdain for Democrats’ opposition? We’ve a storied history of political expediency from both the White House and Congress. Some in both parties expressed disdain for the massive, bloated thousand page bipartisan bill, that garnered the President’s signature. The legal battle from the Democrats shouldn’t surprise anyone. More than a legal challenge, it’s a well crafted tactic to divide Republicans, from moderates like Senator Susan Collins to conservatives like Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows, and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who told Politico, “I wish he wouldn’t have done it,” lamenting, “I imagine we’ll find out whether he’s got the authority to do it in the courts.”
Will the Black Robes swoop in and adjudicate this Constitutional donnybrook? Conservative and business groups typically friendly to President Trump’s policies, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Heritage Foundation, and Freedom Works, cautioned that his decision could usher in the precedent for future shenanigans by liberal administrations that would undermine the very system that has served us for over two centuries. Tweets from Democratic Minnesota Muslim freshman, Ilhan Omar, affirmed the perniciousness of unintended consequences, “Our next President should declare a #National Emergency on day 1 to address the existential threat to all life on the planet posed by Climate Change.” A stark reminder of the concentration of power in the executive branch in usurious hands.
If multiple law suits reach the High Court, will President Trump’s recent appointments of Constitutional textualist bring an anticipated dividend? Thank God for Trump’s pugilistic reflex. What should one expect? Many conservatives agree this was a lousy way to resolve a genuine crisis, but many are convinced it was born of congressional apathy and negligence, under legislative gimcrackery. Our Framers of yesteryear petitioned His beneficent wisdom and guidance at such moments. We’d best do likewise. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org