Tag: Emergency Powers

Greg and guest host Rob Long celebrate a federal court in Louisiana ending President Biden’s oil and gas lease ban on federal land. They also cringe as the Biden administration considers lifting sanctions on top Iranian institutions which finance terrorism. Lastly, they roll their eyes at California Gov. Gavin Newsom for failing to relinquish his state of emergency powers despite COVID-19 numbers being at all time lows in his state.

Vindication in Michigan: A Victory for the Rule of Law

 

Back in early May, I put up a post entitled Despotism Comes to Michigan, going into some detail concerning Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s seizure of what amounts to dictatorial powers. In it, I suggested two things: first, that the 1945 law under which she claimed to be exercising emergency powers had been replaced by the 1976 law authorizing the legislature to confer on the governor such powers for a limited period of time; and second, that the 1945 law was unconstitutional from the start because it violated the fundamental constitutional principle of the separation of powers by placing the legislative power and the executive power together in the hands of a single person when an emergency had been declared and by leaving the declaration of an emergency to the discretion of that person.

Back in late April, the Michigan Republicans, who control both the state house and the state senate, refused to renew the grant of emergency powers to Governor Whitmer under the 1976 statute and filed suit in state court, arguing that the 1945 act could not be the basis for unilateral action on her part. At the local level and in the appeals court, the Republicans were shot down.

But today, much to my surprise, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that she had violated her constitutional authority by continuing to issue emergency orders after the legislature had refused to renew her powers. And in the process the court ruled that the 1945 act was, as I had suggested, unconstitutional.

First Principles: When Is Executive Action Acceptable?

 

On Friday, President Trump took the step of declaring a national emergency for the purposes of helping build a wall on the US border with Mexico. I do not wish to litigate that decision here. If you want to discuss the merits or details of that decision, we already have a great conversation about that which you can find here.

Rather, I want to discuss the general principles that make one kind of presidential action acceptable and another not acceptable, and where the line should be drawn between the two.