ACLU to challenge President Trump's national emergency declaration

By agency reporter
February 18, 2019

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced on 15 February 2019 that it will file a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s emergency powers declaration to secure funds to build a wall along the southern border. 

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero issued the following statement: “By the president’s very own admission in the Rose Garden, there is no national emergency. He just grew impatient and frustrated with Congress, and decided to move along his promise for a border wall ‘faster.’ This is a patently illegal power grab that hurts American communities and flouts the checks and balances that are hallmarks of our democracy. We will be filing a lawsuit early next week. As the country’s premier defender of civil liberties and civil rights, the ACLU will always fight to ensure a robust system of checks and balances on the power of the executive, which is critical to safeguarding our democracy and defending rights.”

The ACLU will argue that President Trump’s use of emergency powers to evade Congressional funding restrictions is unprecedented and that 10 U.S.C. § 2808, the emergency power that Trump has invoked, cannot be used to build a border wall.  Congress restricted the use of that power to military construction projects, like overseas military airfields in wartime, that “are necessary to support” the emergency use of armed forces.  

“The Constitution assigns Congress the power of the purse, and no prior president has ever tried to use emergency powers to fund a chosen project – particularly a permanent, large-scale domestic project such as this – against congressional will.  This is obviously improper”, added Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project.

* American Civil Liberties Union https://www.aclu.org/

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