Inherent power: Trump understands what Congress does not

The US-Mexico border fence as of year end 2014. Donald Trump declared a national emergency to build this fence out. He has the inherent power so to act.
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On Friday, President Donald J. Trump vetoed a Congressional joint resolution seeking to negate his national emergency declaration. This act followed up on the declaration itself. Which was, and is, a valid exercise of the inherent power of any executive when countering an invasion.

Background to the national emergency

First, some background. Everyone who cares to know, knows what is happening at the US-Mexican border. People are pouring in at an unprecedented rate. They have filled holding facilities to overcrowding, and are slipping through the physical weaknesses of the border. This has gone on for decades, but accelerated during the Obama administration.

And small wonder. Barack Obama was and is a globalist. Which means: one seeking to subsume all the countries in the world into one government. If that rings eerily familiar, it should. J. R. R. Tolkien wrote this couplet to describe the one-world designs of his chief antagonist, Lord Sauron, in The Lord of the Rings:

One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them,

One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

And who stands in the way? We do.

Yes. The United States of America has always stood in the way of one-world government. The Senate wisely rejected American entry into Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations. The Senate did not act so wisely when Alger Hiss proposed an outfit calling itself “The United Nations.” Yet even so, the globalists have always known that the American people would never stand for the UN being anything more than a latte klatsch. Which of course is exactly what the globalists tell us the UN is. Nothing more than that, they say. Or in the immortal words of Officer Barbrady of South Park fame:

All right, people. Nothing to see here. Move on.

Ask Henry Kissinger!

Officer Barbrady, with all due respect to your rank, you’re lying. Henry Kissinger gave the game away in 1992:

Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government.

Before Henry Kissinger blew that gaffe, two writers of science fiction from the Sixties wrote hopefully of such a scenario. One was the famous Eugene Roddenberry of Star Trek fame. The other was Larry Niven, creator of the Tales of Known Space. (And he projected a future in which no one but an LEO would be allowed to learn the martial arts!)

So the globalists have set the stage, in popular entertainment and in “acceptable” commentary.

Donald Trump acts

Enter President Donald J. Trump. He proposed to “Make America Great Again.” He also made building a physical barrier to entry a centerpiece of his campaign. People voted for him, for that reason, in record numbers. So when Congress refused even to consider the chronic invasion at the border, Trump acted.

One month later, the House of Representatives passed their half of a Congressional Joint Resolution to nullify Trump’s action. Anyone should expect that. After all, Democrats now control the House, and Democrats want extra voters. For the Democrats are all in on one-world government and on the socialism that goes with it.

The Senate voted for this also—with every Democrat plus twelve nominal Republicans. One of these was Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky. He held that only Congress could declare war; therefore only Congress could declare such an emergency. And if Congress saw no emergency, none existed!

Trump said, in effect, “Oh, yeah? I’ll see about that!” So one month to the day after declaring a national emergency, he vetoed the joint resolution to set it aside.

Reactions to the veto

As regular readers of CNAV know, two contributors have already weighed in. Linda Goudsmit asked flatly who benefits from the untenable and intolerable situation at the border. Sandor Balogh asked a more basic question: who started the breach of the Constitution? His conclusion: Congress did. They did so by failure to address a chronic invasion at the border.

When people hear “invasion” perhaps they usually think of an acute event. Events are acute if they escalate rapidly and chronic if they play out over a long time. These two words come from the respective Greek words for sharpness and time. Too many people tend to ignore a chronic problem—as if time sanctions “living with” a problem. But time does not sanction any effort to subvert the government of a free people. And that is what is happening at the border.

A former ICE director and a Border Patrol union leader

At least one former director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency knows this. Thomas Homan said to Lou Dobbs at Fox Business,

Well, I think one of the greatest presidents of my generation did exactly what he should’ve done, did exactly what he said he was going to do, and he did exactly what the American people expect of their president — do everything he can legally to protect this nation and protect its citizens.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1106945870220677120

Nor was he the only one. Brandon Judd, head of the National Border Patrol Council, shared his thoughts on the Fox News site. He reviewed the history of counterproductive action by Trump’s (nominal) predecessor, Barack Obama. Next he reviewed the National Emergencies Act and its terms. Those terms state the Congress can deny that an emergency exists—but reserve to the Supreme Court the authority to try the constitutionality of a Presidential action.

Inherent power – by definition

If the Supreme Court ever “gets” to decide whether Trump acted properly, then it must contend with the scope of executive power. Any powers of any branch of government fall into three broad categories.

Expressed powers flow directly from the text of the Constitution, laws and treaties.

Implied powers follow logically from other texts that do not grant those powers directly. For example, Congress has the power to raise and support an air force, because it has the power to raise and support armies.

Inherent powers follow from the very nature of the nation-state and any subdivision of it. A mayor has the inherent power, through the police, to investigate a crime and arrest the perpetrator (if they can find him). And a President has the inherent power to resist invasion, without having to ask a legislature for authority to act.

Skepticism of inherent power

Naturally a libertarian thinker will always be skeptical of the inherent power of any branch of government. As regards a President, a libertarian tends to oversimplify the problems a President faces. To paraphrase a catch phrase from the motion picture Terminator Two: Judgment Day, a libertarian says words to this effect:

No enemies but what we make.

And this is how Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sees the world. It has no enemies in it but what we make.

But even a libertarian realizes that enemies of freedom always exist. Enemies that produce credible threats to liberty can exist inside or outside a country.

Naturally the libertarian thinks first of the enemies of freedom inside the country. Marcus Tullius Cicero said it himself: “In time of war, the laws fall silent.” (Silent enim leges inter arma.)

External enemies in action

But what happens when an enemy of freedom uses masses of people to subvert a free society using that society’s institutions? Answer: without a check on this activity, freedom loses. Alexis de Tocqueville warned of something like this, when he said:

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.

Congress has already so discovered. Obama knew this. So do Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and many others. So also does the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees.

Exercising the inherent power to resist invasion

For these reasons, Congress refused to act on the emergency at the border in its just-passed term. The new Congress seems even less inclined to act. Republicans want extra low-wage workers. Democrats want extra voters.

We have a President, and not a Prime Minister, precisely because a President can see a wider scope. And this President sees the scope of the problem. So when Congress refuses to act, he must act. He has the inherent power and the duty so to act.

Last month President Trump took the first step to exert his inherent power to protect the country. Now Congress wants to set that at naught. The President must not let that happen. Hence the veto.

The President should now exercise another inherent power of the executive: to review treaties. He has done so already, declaring an arms-control treaty null and void after the Russians repeatedly breached it. The United Nations itself stands in breach of the treaty “recognizing the sovereignty of member States.” Trump could and should abrogate all treaties recognizing the body, and withdraw from and expel it. He can and should cite its direct complicity in the crisis on our southern border.


Featured image: “US – Mexico Border Fence” by Tony Webster is licensed under CC BY 2.0 CC BY 2.0

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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