CNN Legal Analyst: Courts ‘Unlikely’ to Stop Trump if He Declares National Emergency at Border

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Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's chief legal analyst, said on Thursday he thinks it is "unlikely" the courts would stop President Donald Trump if he declared a national emergency and shifted money toward the construction of a wall on the southern border.

John Berman, co-host of CNN's New Day, asked Toobin if it would be legal for the president to declare a national emergency to put money toward a wall.

"I think it probably is," Toobin responded. "I think it is unlikely to be stopped by the courts, let's put it that way."

Toobin cited the president's broad emergency powers and the challenge of finding a plaintiff with standing to sue as reasons why a legal challenge to an emergency declaration would likely fail.

"Ultimately, [it is unlikely to be stopped] for a couple of reasons. One is that the president's emergency powers are phrased in a very broad way. And second, as a purely legal matter, it is hard for me to imagine the courts finding a plaintiff with standing, that is, the plaintiff with the legal right to sue to stop this at any early point in the process," he said.

"You know, the president's emergency powers have been invoked more than you think, often on issues that are not terribly high profile, issues involving Congo, for example … and there are 31 current emergencies," Toobin continued, "most of them not controversial at all, but, you know, they indicate the breadth of the president's power here. And, you know, at least in the short-term, I think that if President Trump wanted to do this, the courts would let him."

Trump said on Wednesday that he could declare a national emergency to build a border wall without Congress' approval. He said he has "the absolute right to do national emergency if I want."

Jeffrey Cimmino

Jeffrey Cimmino   Email Jeffrey | Full Bio | RSS
Jeff Cimmino is a media analyst at the Washington Free Beacon. He is a senior pursuing a B.A. in history and a minor in government at Georgetown University. Prior to working at the Free Beacon, he interned at National Review and the Foreign Policy Initiative.

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