Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What Can the President Do ... And Not Do

How much authority does the President of the United States have to deviate from the law without Congressional approval? How much discretion does he have to apparently violate the law during emergencies? What constitutes an emergency authorizing Presidential deviation from the law?

These are good questions that citizens and elected representatives alike should ask. To make the answers a little clearer for members of Congress, the Library of Congress's Congressional Research Service (CRS) has prepared National Emergency Powers, a 25-page update issued on June 20, 2006.

The update's Summary states, "The President of the United States has available certain powers that may be exercised in the event that the nation is threatened by crisis, exigency, or emergency circumstances (other than natural disasters, war, or near-war situations. ... There are, however, limits and restraints upon the President in his exercise of emergency powers. With the exception of the habeas corpus clause, the Constitution makes no allowance for the suspension of any of its provisions during a national emergency."

The update goes on to discuss the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601-1651) and subsequent declarations of national emergency.


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