National emergencies are critical tools for addressing sudden and unforeseen events that need decisive response to address. In our separation of powers system, this typically means that they allow the President to use certain powers that Congress has previously approved of in an emergency because Congress recognizes it cannot act quickly enough to respond to certain kinds of situations.
However, national emergencies can also be quite dangerous in a democratic system if they are not subject to democratic checks and accountability. In our system, they could be used to bypass Congressional action or violate constitutional rights.
Protect Democracy has led the effort to reform the national emergency system to build stronger checks on the use of national emergencies and the National Emergencies Act (NEA). There is a broad bipartisan consensus on the shape of reform captured in the bipartisan, bicameral ARTICLE ONE Act.
We have also litigated against certain national emergencies and the associated abuses of power in El Paso County v Trump.