US President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency along the border with Mexico and predicted that his administration would end up defending it all the way to the US Supreme Court.
That might have been the only thing he said that produced near-universal agreement.
The American Civil Liberties Union announced its intention to sue less than an hour after the White House released the text of Trump’s declaration that the “current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency.”
Nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen filed suit later, urging the US District Court for the District of Columbia to “bar Trump and the US Department of Defense from using the declaration and funds appropriated for other purposes to build a border wall.”
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several Democratic state attorneys general have already said that they might go to court.
The coming legal fight seems likely to hinge on two main issues: Can the US president declare a national emergency to build a border wall in the face of the US Congress’ refusal to give him all the money he wanted and, under the federal law Trump invoked in his declaration, can the department take money from some congressionally approved military construction projects to pay for wall construction?
The Pentagon has not said which projects might be affected.
However, after weeks of publicly ruminating whether to act, Trump’s signature on the declaration set in motion a quick march to the courthouse.
Trump relied on the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which Congress adopted as a way to put some limits on presidential use of national emergencies.
The act requires a US president to notify Congress publicly of the national emergency and to report every six months.
The law also says the president must renew the emergency every year, simply by notifying Congress.
The House and the US Senate can also revoke a declaration by majority vote, although it would take a two-thirds vote by each house to override an expected presidential veto.
Beyond that, the law does not say what constitutes a national emergency or impose any other limits on the president.
The broad grant of discretion to the president could make it hard to persuade courts to rule that Trump exceeded his authority in declaring a border emergency.
“He’s the one who gets to make the call. We can’t second-guess it,” said John Eastman, a professor of constitutional law at Chapman University’s School of Law.
Courts are often reluctant to look beyond the justifications the US president included in his proclamation, Ohio State University law professor Peter Shane said on a call organized by the liberal American Constitution Society.
However, other legal experts said that the facts are powerfully arrayed against the president.
They include government statistics showing a decades-long decline in illegal border crossings, as well as Trump’s rejection of a deal last year that would have provided more than the nearly US$1.4 billion he got for border security in a budget agreement he signed on Thursday.
Opponents of the declaration are also certain to use Trump’s own words at his Rose Garden news conference on Friday to argue that there is no emergency on the border.
“I could do the wall over a longer period of time,” Trump said. “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.”
US Representative Justin Amash, a Republican, said Congress made a conscious choice not to give Trump what he wanted.
“A prerequisite for declaring an emergency is that the situation requires immediate action and Congress does not have an opportunity to act,” Amash said on Twitter.
SOLVED: Domestic orders have already overtaken the total sold to China last year, while the Canadian and US representative offices posted messages of support A joint effort by groups and individuals in Taiwan and abroad to prop up sales of pineapples after China announced a ban on imports of the fruit succeeded in just four days, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday. China on Friday announced that it would suspend imports of Taiwanese pineapples starting on Monday, citing biosafety concerns. Following the announcement, the council urged the public to assist farmers by purchasing pineapples, saying it hoped to sell 20,000 tonnes of the fruit domestically and 30,000 tonnes in exports. “Domestic orders have already surpassed the total sold to China last year,” COA Minister
‘UNFRIENDLY’: COA Minister Chen Chi-chung said that Beijing probably imposed the sanction because the pineapple production season is about to start in Taiwan More than 99 percent of pineapples sold to China passed inspections, the government said yesterday, after China earlier in the day abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from the nation, which Taipei called an “unfriendly” move. From Monday, China is to stop importing pineapples from Taiwan, the Chinese General Administration of Customs said. The regulation is a normal measure for ensuring biosafety, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said in a news release later yesterday. Since last year, Chinese customs officials have repeatedly seized pineapples imported from Taiwan that carried “perilous organisms,” Ma said. Were the organisms to spread in China, they would
Taiwanese netizens and politicians yesterday mocked a Chinese plan to build a transportation network linking Beijing and Taipei, calling it “science fiction” and “daydreaming.” Their comments were in reaction to the Chinese State Council’s release last week of its “Guidelines on the National Comprehensive Transportation Network Plan,” which include several proposed transportation links, with one map showing a line running from China’s Jingjinji Metropolitan Region (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei) across the Taiwan Strait to Taipei. “This is the Chinese leadership daydreaming again of [fulfilling its] fantasy of extending China’s transportation network to Taiwan. I suggest people regard it as science fiction,” Democratic Progressive
‘ONE PERSON PER UNIT’: People undergoing home isolation cannot stay in a housing unit in which non-isolated people live, unless they have special approval Starting tomorrow, people under home isolation would be required to follow the “one person per housing unit” rule if in private housing, or stay at a quarantine hotel or centralized quarantine facility, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the rules require people under home quarantine to be quarantined with one person per housing unit, or at a quarantine hotel or centralized quarantine facility. “Starting on March 1, individuals under home isolation will also be subject to the ‘one person per housing unit’ rule,” he said. “We