By John G. Malcolm:
President Donald Trump has asked Congress for $5.7 billion to build a wall along the southern border. He has said that, if necessary, he may declare a “national emergency” and act unilaterally, and that he has the authority to do so.
As is the case any time a president attempts to circumvent Congress and act unilaterally, there is the legal question of whether he can do so and the normative question of whether he should do so. This article addresses only the legal question at hand.
In brief, Trump has a strong argument to make that he, in fact, has the authority to act unilaterally. But in order to explain why, let me lay out the relevant facts.
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