Congressional Democrats and 12 GOP senators believe President Donald Trump lacked the authority to declare a national emergency last month so as to appropriate government money toward the construction of a southern U.S. border wall that Congress has refused to fund.
Attorney General William “Bill” Barr, who’s been serving in the federal government in some sort of judicial position or another since as early as 1989, vehemently disagrees.
As the president signed his first presidential veto Friday afternoon in the Oval office against a congressional resolution that would have revoked his national emergency, Barr delivered a brief speech in which he explained exactly why Trump’s declaration of a national emergency was constitutional.
“Mr. President, your declaration of an emergency on the southern border was clearly authorized under the law and consistent with past precedent,” he said. “As you said, the National Emergencies Act directly authorizes the President, and gives broad discretionary authority to the President, to identify and respond to emergent circumstances that require a decisive response.”
“And the humanitarian and security crisis we have on the border right now is exactly the kind of emergency that Presidents are permitted to address under the National Emergencies Act.”
Even The New York Times recently admitted that the southern U.S. border is at a “breaking point” as more than 76,000 illegal aliens are crossing into the U.S. every single month.
Many of them are bringing diseases with them. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as of March 7, a total of 2,287 illegals had been quarantined due to the communicable afflictions they carried, including but not limited to mumps, influenza and chickenpox.
“As you alluded to yourself, in the past 40 years, there have been 59 emergencies declared. And many of these have dealt with political conditions in countries like Burundi, Sierra Leone, Belarus. The crisis that we’re dealing with today is right on our doorstep, and it presents a real clear and present danger to the American people,” Barr continued.
“So what you’ve done from a legal standpoint is solidly grounded in law. And from the standpoint of protecting the American people, it’s imperative.”
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter, a big proponent of building a southern U.S. border wall, made sure to tout Barr’s words on social media. Others did too:
“CLEARLY LAWFUL” — Attorney General Bill Barr on border emergency declaration. But I’m sure constitutional scholars Rand Paul & Lisa Murkowski know better. https://t.co/rd9ojWlTVs
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) March 15, 2019
I agree with the Attorney General. https://t.co/aNFC0chgNr
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) March 15, 2019
As a law professor, I concluded same, the courts will eventually uphold @realDonaldTrump’s declaration of national border emergency as clearly authorized under the law. Dems lose & will have negotiated nothing for DREAMers, TPS refugees & the many victims of humanitarian crisis. https://t.co/1AHN18rOcD
— Tim Canova (@Tim_Canova) March 16, 2019
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) March 15, 2019
Note how Coulter mocked Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, two of the senators who voted against Trump’s national emergency, for their lack of legal knowledge.
Just to be clear, though Paul doesn’t have a legal degree, Murkowski does. However, whereas she’s spent nearly her entire career in politics, Barr’s spent his in law.
“During President George H. W. Bush’s administration, Barr served as attorney general, deputy attorney general and assistant attorney general at the Office of Legal Counsel. After government service, he became the general counsel at Verizon, and he has served on the board of TimeWarner,” Matthew Heiman of the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law noted earlier this year after Barr’s nomination by Trump.
Suffice it to say, the AG seems more familiar with the law than Murkowski.
Everybody in the government acknowledges that the crisis is real, including Vice President Mike Pence, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
“[T]he crisis on our southern border is a crisis all across this nation,” the VP noted in his own speech Friday in the Oval Office. “Add in human trafficking and all that comes with this crisis; justify the President’s declaration of a national emergency — this is affecting all the people of the United States.”
“And today, Mr. President, with your strong support for the men and women of law enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security, and with, I know, what is your love in your heart for these Angel parents, you’re keeping your word by vetoing this legislation, by finding the available resources to build the wall, address this emergency, and secure our border.”
Watch the full veto vote below:
Despite the law clearly being in the president’s favor, Democrats continue to question the legitimacy of his national emergency. Some have even compared him to a dictator:
.@realdonaldtrump: We are a democratic republic, NOT a dictatorship. Congress rejected your massive abuse of power, and as a COEQUAL branch of government, we should overturn this veto.
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) March 15, 2019
Trump seemingly has no shame. Americans rightly outraged by his vainglorious veto should shower their elected leaders w/protest. My Republican colleagues will have the opportunity to stand against this move toward an imperial presidency.
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) March 15, 2019
The majority of both the House & Senate voted to reject the President’s National Emergency Declaration.
The President has chosen to override the will of Congress with a veto, and we will continue with our 20 state lawsuit.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) March 15, 2019
A majority of Americans oppose Trump’s national emergency declaration. He is playing politics with taxpayer resources to build an unnecessary wall. Congress now has a duty to overturn the President’s veto. https://t.co/6N3Do8OOpl
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) March 15, 2019
And according to reports, congressional Democrats are planning to try again by holding a voting to override the president’s veto:
On March 26, the House will once again act to protect our Constitution and our democracy from the President’s emergency declaration by holding a vote to override his veto. #FakeEmergency
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) March 15, 2019
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