Donald Trump’s power play in order to get his border wall built would seem to be unconstitutional on its face. But courts may well uphold his action. “Congress’s delegation to presidents of vast, essentially unconstrained power to declare national emergencies has been an irresponsible surrender of its constitutional responsibilities,” writes Peter H. Schuck, emeritus professor of law at Yale (www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/opinion/trump-national-emergency.html). His op-ed has a valuable, and disheartening, link to a compilation by the Brennan Center for Justice of numerous “emergencies” in which Congress handed greater executive power to the president (www.brennancenter.org/analysis/emergency-powers). And only in rare instances has the Supreme Court either limited executive initiatives or taken back from a president what Congress has surrendered.
There is a potential silver lining, however: a Democratic president might just declare climate change a national emergency–which it is!–using the Trump and other precedents.