- 16 states are suing Trump over his emergency declaration on Friday
- The final decision is expected to be made by the Supreme Court
- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says southern border crossings are at their lowest in 20 years
On Monday, California made the 16th state to join a lawsuit against President Donald Trump in response to his national emergency declaration to receive the funding needed for his border wall. The suit’s announcement happened to fall appropriately enough on Presidents’ Day.
On Friday Trump declared a national emergency in order to bypass Congress to get the funding he needs for his promised wall at the southern border. The national emergency comes after Trump hit multiple dead ends trying to get Congress to approve funding for his wall.
The presidential act of declaring a national emergency is nothing new but it has changed over the years. Following the Watergate scandal, Congress scaled back provisions of federal law responsible for granting emergency authority to the president with the National Emergencies Act of 1976. The act was an attempt to give lawmakers the ability to check presidential power. Since 1976, presidents have used national emergencies 58 times. However, this is the first time a national emergency has been used to fund a stalled campaign goal.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra claimed the suit against Trump is to prevent him from “unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states.” Becerra went on to point out that illegal immigrants coming across the southern border is at its lowest in twenty years.
Unlawful southern border entries are at their lowest point in 20 years, immigrants are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes, and illegal drugs are more likely to come through official ports of entry.
So now that Trump has issued this national emergency, can it be stopped? A national emergency has not been stopped since Harry Truman attempted to use emergency powers to nationalize the steel industry during the Korean War in 1952. In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court decided Truman had overstepped his presidential authority.
Congress holds the power to stop Trump’s declaration, but it is highly unlikely to happen. Up until the 80s, Congress held the power to repeal an emergency declaration with a simple majority vote in both houses. That was amended in a 1983 Supreme Court ruling involving separation of powers. it would take both houses of Congress to act with a veto-proof supermajority. The chances of this happening are extremely low considering the current division inside Congress.
Currently, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia are in the suit against Trump. As expected even by Trump, the suit was filed in the Northern District of California, where appeals are heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump believes the 9th Circuit will rule against him, forcing them to move to the Supreme Court, where he said he was confident they would side with him.
We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued. And they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit, even though it shouldn’t be there. And we’ll possibly get a bad ruling and then we’ll get another bad ruling and then we’ll end up the Supreme Court, and then hopefully we’ll get a fair shake and we’ll win in the Supreme Court, just like the ban.