“There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual consent and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

James Madison


Given Mitch McConnell cannot prevent the Senate from voting on a House passed resolution to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border, a growing number of GOP Senators have publicly indicated they will support the measure.

­The president has made it clear that he will then veto the resolution … sending it back to Congress where it will take a ⅔ affirmative vote in both chambers to override his veto.

While the overwhelming majority of Democrats and Independents in the House and Senate will vote for a veto override, they lack the necessary ⅔ majority.  It will then fall to Republican Representatives and Senators to decide whether they will honor their oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution” or once again cave to the whims of and implied threats from their party’s mercurial president, for whom the Constitution is a meddlesome inconvenience to his authoritarian style and political agenda.

The Constitution clearly delineates the enumerated powers of each of the three branches of our government.   Despite a fundamental obligation to act pursuant to the powers given to it under Article I, successive Congresses have inexorably ceded more and more authority and power to the Executive.

Yet, nowhere in the Constitution is any branch of our government authorized to assign its powers to another branch.  Given their commitment to creating a separation of and system of checks-and-balances between governmental power centers, had the founders wanted to allow the Executive, Legislative or Judiciary to be able to delegate their constitutional powers to one another, they would have included explicit language permitting such actions.

As a growing number of states and other entities with legal standing are also challenging the president’s actions in court, it is likely the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately adjudicate the matter.  Hopefully, it will look to the founders’  “original intent” and strike down not only the President’s trumped-up national emergency on the southern border but also previous Congressional actions delegating their enumerated powers to the Executive Department.

Consider the “War Powers Act”.  Despite Congress having the sole power to declare war, our country has engaged in more than two dozen military conflicts costing more than 95,000 lives, 300,000 wounded and untold trillions of dollars since the last constitutional declaration of war against Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania on June 5th, 1942.  Despite identifying such actions as “authorized use of military force”, “extended military engagements”, “police actions” “targeted actions”, “sustained counterterrorism strategy” or other euphuisms … these conflicts were still “wars”!

Should the Supreme Court support the president’s actions, our nation will accelerate its journey down a dangerous and slippery slope where the Constitution becomes increasingly moot, Congress is  further emasculated and America risks becoming governed by autocrats issuing Executive Orders. 

Republicans should be concerned about the unintended consequences of their votes on this matter.  The next Democrat president could easily begin to circumvent Congress by declaring emergencies and promulgating regulations governing health care, gun control, reproductive and LGBTQ rights, climate change, immigration and other matters which maybe an anathema to their party and its base.

The Constitution as adopted was admittedly an imperfect document.  However, it provided the means to remedy its shortcomings and enfranchise those American left behind in 1789.  It has also helped create a nation whose freedoms and opportunities have served as a beacon to those seeking refuge from tyranny and autocratic despots for more than two centuries

Members of Congress must not operate as agents of their political parties or any presidential administration; their fundamental purpose is to be stewards of the Constitution and of the liberties of the people.

Congress must step up and reassert itself as a independent and co-equal governmental partner!

Its members must put our country and the Constitution above reelection prospects or party loyalty!