As I See It
By ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO
At the rate an average case moves through the court system, including appeals to high courts and the supreme court, the more or less 16 cases filed by various states stopping US President Donald Trump’s use of emergency powers to build his border wall, I would say will take years to resolve them.
In the average, filing of cases takes place in about two weeks, trial about two to three months, and appeals for another two weeks or so. So, just for one case alone, I think it ranges from four to eight months, including appeals up to the Supreme Court, depending upon the case information. Then the Supreme Court will take another two to three months, or even longer to adjudicate the cases filed.
Also, with President Trump ordering the start of border construction despite pending lawsuits, it will even more prolong the legal controversy due to court injunctions to be decided and issued stopping the construction. This will be a litmus paper for our legal luminaries for both camps to be innovative and creative in pursuing their legal cases.
That’s an ordinary citizen’s assessment of the length of the legal battle arising from President Trump’s border crisis declaration of national emergency. That may also explain the fact that there may have no “border crisis” in the southern portion of US and Mexico. No less than the Mayor of El Paso attests to that, residents of Texas also say there is no crisis, and even the president of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro denies there is a humanitarian crisis and believes the “border crisis” Trump was referring to was just a pigment of his imagination. In short, there is no real crisis in the border with Mr. Trump’s own words saying he may take longer time to build the wall but since he wants to do it faster, he declared the state of emergency. In fact, that’s the bone of contention of the Democrats and the 16 states filing cases to stop Trump’s emergency proclamation to build the wall.
But, since the cases are high profile cases needing immediate action, a prominent professor of law has the idea of expedited litigation but he also said it could be delayed too, depending on the situation. Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University said, “While the matter could be expedited to move through the courts in a matter of months, the government could seek to slow litigation to push any final decision into 2020…” Again, As I See It, the issue will be delayed and will be used as election issue to be used by Trump himself for his reelection in 2020.
Going against his arguments though, there might be a negative impact on this because statistics show, “Illegal border crossings fell from 1.6 million in 2000 to fewer than 400,000 last year, and research indicates that undocumented immigrants are much less likely to commit crime than native-born American citizens”.
While President Trump signed the compromise bill, the showdown on the border wall is not yet over! In fact, the way I see it, it may even lapse up to 2020 and beyond! When President Trump signed the compromise bill, the American people thought the border funding issue is over! They were wrong! Why… because the President is dead set to pursue his border wall he promised during the 2016 presidential election by all means.
It appears that the $1.375 B border funding contained in the compromise bill only serves as a “down payment” and there’s still more to come. He is pursuing another $6.6 B funding during the emergency period even exceeding his $5.7 B border total funding.
While most critics say he was forced to sign the compromise bill because the majority (American people, Congress, party members) are opposed to the shut down and it will be bad for America, the main reason was it was his first step in actually pursuing his real intention of funding his border wall.
Surely… the president signed the new compromise bill to avert a government shutdown claiming that there is a “border crisis” at the US-Mexico border to be able to fund the wall using military funds. Prior to the signing, he has been floating budgetary allocations coming from military funds and kept on boasting that he has more than enough money to fund the wall without Congress appropriating the funds. He used his executive privilege since he cannot convince Congress to appropriate funds for his wall, the normal way.
What’s important to him is for him to comply with his campaign promise in 2016 to build the wall, especially now that it is close to the 2020 Presidential election again. Democrats will be blocking his move while legal obstructions are being considered by people affected by the actual construction of the border wall in the Texas area.
Protagonists really have to do whatever it takes them because this is scary with the president having access to emergency powers contained in 123 statutory provisions, as recently calculated by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. These laws address a broad range of matters: from military composition to agricultural exports to public contracts. For the most part, the president is free to use any of them; the National Emergencies Act doesn’t require that the powers invoked relate to the nature of the emergency.
In short, even if the state of emergency was only intended to build his wall, he can access all these 123 statutory provisions to get what he wanted to do, that may or may not be related to the wall. He can always justify a relationship, a connection, as he has been doing in the past to justify his moves.
Elizabeth Goitei, who co-directs the Liberty and National Security Program at New York University’s Brennan Center says,” invoking them is not a step to be taken lightly. That’s the basic legal framework for what the president is talking about although the border crisis doesn’t seem to be one of those emergency situations where the president can exercise his emergency power”.
Goitei said “there’s absolutely no evidence or any reason to consider this a crisis in the way that is supposed to be used as a legal matter. The point of emergency powers is to give the president needed flexibility when there is an urgent, unforeseen disaster of some kind that Congress can’t handle quickly enough. And that’s clearly not the situation we’re in here. So, it’s a massive abuse of authority for the president to declare a national emergency in this instance,” Goitei said.
Another thing, Congress can end a president’s call of a national emergency with a joint resolution, a legislative measure to be submitted, just as a bill is, to the president for his signature, making it a law, but it would be hard to get it because it needs two thirds of both legislative body to approve it. While Congress is controlled by the Democrats, the Senate is still dominated by Republicans. This is a move but apparently a defeatist move, I guess.
So, the only fighting chance for the oppositionists to fight Mr. Trump is through the courts, but since the legal battle takes time, As I See It, it will take up to the 2020 election and even beyond!
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