In 1976, Congress passed the National Emergencies Act which allowed the president to issue national emergency declarations when he or she considers it appropriate.
These declarations allow the president to access expanded authorities contained in other laws during these emergencies.
Presidents have used national emergency declarations in situations like September 11th, the swine flu epidemic and most recently to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Many legislators have argued that current laws relating to emergency powers conflict with the principle of separation of powers and give too much unchecked power to the executive branch.
This deliberation has students research the Constitutional foundations of presidential emergency powers and answer the question: Is the president given too much power during national emergency declarations?
Teaching about Presidential Emergency Powers
- Lesson Plan
- Vocabulary Preview Chart
- Background Video Questions
- Background Article Questions
- Note-Taking Chart
- Deliberation Activities
- What exactly is a national emergency? Here’s what that means and what happens next.– New York Times
- Here’s a list of the 31 national emergencies that have been in effect for years– ABC