New York VI (Trump Tower / Emergency Exit),” Till Westermeyer

February 15, 2019; The Hill

NPQ is reminded at times like these how critically important nonprofit legal advocates are to our civil and human rights. Their capacity to look ahead and have cases ready to go in the face of what has been a relatively unpredictable presidency is impressive.

This carries forward into the responses to Trump’s declaration of a national emergency when Public Citizen filed the first lawsuit to block its implementation. PC is working, in this case, on behalf of the Frontera Audubon Society and three landowners in South Texas whose land may be appropriated for construction of the barrier.

“The complaint urges the court to find that Trump exceeded his constitutional authority and authority under the National Emergencies Act, and to hold that the declaration violates the doctrine of separation of powers that is so central to our Constitution,” Public Citizen said in a press release.

“The court should bar Trump and the US Department of Defense from using the declaration and funds appropriated for other purposes to build a border wall,” they conclude.

The suit calls on the federal court to invalidate the declaration and halt any related border wall construction.

Other legal efforts are afoot from the ACLU and the Center for Biological Diversity, and from the states, where California is leading the charge, with Governor Gavin Newsom as spokesperson:

“President Trump is manufacturing a crisis and declaring a made-up ‘national emergency’ in order to seize power and subvert the constitution,” Newsom said in a statement. “Our message back to the White House is simple and clear: California will see you in court.”

Meanwhile, Congress prepares to take the question up next week in what is expected to be a two-part process, likely ending in a presidential override—again.—Ruth McCambridge