Protect the Constitution

Presidents can declare a State of Emergency in many situations. Many experts believe this president’s declaration of a state of emergency, when congress did not allocate the funds he wanted, oversteps his constitutional authority. Congress has sole authority to allocate funds.

Our system of government descends from the British one because most of the men framing the Constitution were of British descent. About 800 years ago, a group of nobles wrested some rights from King John of England. Over the years rights first for the lords, and then the landed gentry, were won from the king in exchange for income to fund his projects. When the Constitution was framed, the framers were largely landed gentry and prominent businessmen. They explicitly assigned congress the power to pass all funding bills.

At first only wealthy white males were included in the government. People wrote, protested, picketed, organized and unionized to get the right to vote and get full citizenship. They went to prison, suffered beatings and undertook hunger strikes for their rights. Over the years more citizens of the United States received the right to vote, all white men in the 1820s, black men in 1870, women in 1920 and Native Americans in 1924. The rights of the people were ensured by the right of congress to deprive the president of funds to undertake unapproved projects.

By declaring a state of emergency, the president has willfully disregarded the separation of powers and is seizing the power to allocate funds himself. I am frightened that this situation is similar to the Declaration of Emergency in 1933 Germany that enabled Hitler to establish his infamous dictatorship.

Don’t waste the sacrifices our forefathers and foremothers made to get their civil rights. American citizens bear the responsibility for the actions of their elected officials. When citizens feel that the government is in error, they must make their voices heard. Please take action to protect the Constitution and the government of the United States as we know it.

Don’t let President Trump undermine the Constitution. If he can reallocate funds, he can do anything and so can future presidents. The House has passed a motion to disapprove Trump’s State of Emergency. Now it’s up to the Senate. Phone or email your senators and beg them to obey their oaths to protect the Constitution and disapprove the state of emergency by a veto-proof majority.

Sen. Joe Manchin: 202-224-3954; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito: 202-224-6472.

Judith Peascoe

Vienna

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