No, You Cannot Declare Emergency to Build Wall That Public Doesn’t Want and Isn’t Needed

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After President Donald Trump on Friday claimed he could declare a national emergency in order to assert total control over the border and use existing taxpayer money to build a wall he has repeatedly told the American public that Mexico would pay for, legal experts are pointing out that Trump has no authority under the Constitution to do any such thing.

“Of all the constitutional norms that this president has upset, this, ultimately, may be the most significant.” —Lawrence Lessig, Harvard University“I can do it if I want,” Trump declared Friday. “We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country. We can do it. I haven’t done it. I may do it.”

Calling Trump’s demand for the wall “constitutionally illegitimate” in an op-ed for the Guardian in the wake of the president’s “bizarre” press conference outside the White House, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig argued that no reading of the nation’s governing document “would ever uphold the view that a president can stop the functioning of government, to insist upon a program unsupported by the public or unrequired by the constitution.”

Lessig writes:

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