Recently, the Federalist Society posted the video from an online panel called “What Are the Limits to Executive Emergency Powers?” Elizabeth Goitein, Pacific Legal Foundation (Brennan Center NYU), Daniel Dew and me were among the participants. Ilya Sharpiro, Manhattan Institute’s moderator, was the other person on the panel.
This is what is expected from an ideologically diverse group. Goitein for example is quite to my left while Ilya (the “other”) is slightly to my right. There were also disagreements on several topics. Nonetheless, we did agree that emergency powers have been seriously abused by presidents of both parties in recent years, and that we need stronger constraints on their use—both legislative and judicial.
Examples of such abuse include Donald Trump’s attempt to use emergency powers to divert military funds to his border wall project, the CDC eviction moratorium and Title 42 “public health” expulsions (both begun by Trump and continued by Biden), and—most recently—Biden’s effort to use the Covid emergency as a justification for forgiving hundreds of billions of dollars in student loan debt. This problem isn’t limited to any president or one political party. We must recognize its magnitude and accept that there are many other solutions.
Below is the embedded video: