National Emergency: A Power Grab with No Justification
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National Emergency: A Power Grab with No Justification

President Donald Trump has agreed to sign the funding bill to stop a government shutdown. In addition, he has stated that he will declare a national emergency. Trump is invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) so that he may build a wall along the US’s Southern border. This declaration, while law, has no constitutional authorization. In addition, a national emergency would lead to unprecedented federal power along the border. No opponent of omnipotent government can support this measure.

A National Emergency Destroys Individual Rights

The cost of the wall is only a small part of the problem. In a national emergency, the president will have the authority to enact the largest confiscation of private land in American history. This land grab is a clear violation of the 5th Amendment. While many legal scholars may argue that eminent domain is legitimate because the 5th Amendment claims the government may take land if “just compensation” is provided, one must ask what makes compensation just.

The amount of money does not make it just. The use of the land does not make it just. When considering justice, one must consider consent. Consent is Justice. If the government wants my land, then they should offer a price at which I would agree to sell. If there is no monetary amount I’d agree to, then no one has the right to my land. To say I have to forfeit my land to the state is an egregious breach of individual rights and gives more power to the government than anyone should ever have.

A National Emergency Decimates Checks and Balances

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution makes it abundantly clear that Congress has the power to write the law. The president does not have this power. Even if a border wall is a good idea (which it isn’t), the president still does not have the authority to order it to be built. The IEEPA is unconstitutional whereas it allows the president to write and execute the law. This turns the American republic into a despotic state in which all public affairs must operate under the consent of one man: the president.

The IEEPA, of course, was passed in October of 1977, a time in which the Democratic Party controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. In other words, both parties are to blame for this egregious power grab. If your worst enemy should not have power, neither should you or your greatest ally. If the establishment truly opposed a border wall and a national emergency, they would have had the forethought not to give the president this power, to begin with.

How to Stop the National Emergency and the Wall

But now there seems to be no way to stop Trump from stealing land and income to build a wall. Congress is spineless. The courts may step in, but the president may ignore them as Andrew Jackson once did. The one solution to this crisis is nullification. It is not just the right, but also it is the duty of the states to resist this tyrannical law.

This is the prescription James Madison, the author of the constitution, proposed. Simply put, the states created the federal government, and they have the right to refuse to comply with its mandates. There is no other way to resist the national emergency. If the states starve the federal government of its legitimacy, then it matters not what the president says. This is the only way to stop the Wall and the National Emergency.

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