The U.S. Congress is failing. Thanks to enduring and successful political partisanship, the House of Representatives and the United States Senate no longer behave as envisioned by this country’s founders.  Within the GOP, the success of the U.S. Congress is now vastly undervalued when compared to the value placed on the political success of the Republican party. To make matters worse, congressional dysfunction is now coupled with the dysfunction of Donald J. Trump’s presidency.  Trump’s recent ‘national emergency’ declaration, in strict pursuit of his politically, crowd-pleasing border wall, places us on the verge of a constitutional crisis. Consequently, our constitution and laws as understood since 1776 are now at risk of being dangerously altered by a combination of presidential overreach and Congressional failure.

On the one hand, we have a House of Representatives under Democrat control exercising its oversight powers on the President.  The House voted to overrule Trump’s ‘national emergency’ declaration.  On the other hand, we have a GOP controlled U.S. Senate unwilling and incapable of exercising its constitutional oversight powers regarding Donald Trump’s ‘national emergency’.   Thus, we have an unrestrained President faced off against a crippled Congress. Take a wrong turn here, we could be profoundly changing our current form of government.

While thoughtful people are hoping the Supreme Court is willing and able to contain this crisis by declaring Trump’s ‘national emergency’ unconstitutional, that hope is misplaced. Believing the Judiciary is willing and able to lead us out of this crisis, leads us deeper into the delusion that Trump’s conduct is just another business-as-usual political transaction in Washington.  As if Trump’s ‘national emergency’ declaration is a plain vanilla political issue that will be resolved in the due-course of Washington politics.

Trump’s declaration of a ‘national emergency’ however, is anything but business as usual.  Donald Trump has made an unprecedented power grab and end run around the U.S. Constitution. If successful, Donald Trump’s gambit could forever reduce the political power of Congress and increase the power of the Presidency.  If President Trump’s emergency declaration is successful, this country will move incrementally closer to an American presidency which would be able to enact and enforce Presidential decrees, – laws not enacted by the people’s representatives.  Think Turkey or Egypt. 

The following are the only options open to the Supreme Court if the GOP controlled U.S. Senate fails to overrule Trump’s emergency declaration.

Option 1. The Supreme Court decides with Trump.  The President has emergency powers. Trump will build his wall and we have changed our form of government – Congressional funding/legislation is no longer required in presidential emergencies. 

Option 2. The Supreme Court refuses to rule on Trump’s national emergency. The Court rules it does not have the power to decide. Trump will build his wall and we will have changed our form of government – Congress need not legislate in presidential emergencies. 

Option 3. The Supreme Court disagrees with Trump.  The Court rules there is no emergency.  Therefore, Trump has no emergency powers.  Therefore, emergency border wall laws decreed by Trump are unconstitutional and unenforceable.  The Supreme Court has done this only once in its history. 

One out of three Supreme Court options protects the Constitution. Ladies and Gentlemen, place your bets.

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