SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — A fight on multiple fronts is brewing following President Donald Trump’s use of executive power to find funding for the border wall.
“I have no doubt that it will be challenged by lawsuits from here to there and back,” said Amos Guiora, law professor at the University of Utah.
Guiora said one of those cases could end up before the Supreme Court, where the justices would have to weigh “whether the decision to declare this state of emergency in any way violates the constitution, whether the president exceeded his power, whether indeed there is an emergency.”
The power to appropriate is one held by Congress. Rep. Ben McAdams, D-District 4, called Trump’s national emergency declaration “an abuse of presidential authority.”
“The constitution, we have separate branches of government for a reason, for a check and balance so there’s not a concentration of power in the hands of just one person, Republican or Democrat,” McAdams said.
Communications directors for Utah’s three Republican members of Congress said the lawmakers were not available for interviews on Friday. Several issued statements on Thursday ahead of the president’s action, with Rep. Chris Stewart calling the move a “mistake.”
Sen. Mike Lee, who was an attorney before a politician, tweeted on Friday that he believes the declaration is legal. “Whether or not it should be legal is a different matter,” he wrote.
Lawmakers are weighing whether to block the president through resolutions passed in both chambers.
“Congress is able to nullify that emergency declaration, and I think that conversation is really going to happen over the next week,” McAdams said.
It won’t happen immediately, as the House is not in session again until Feb. 25.
Guiora said if the Supreme Court takes up a case, their decision could limit the power of future presidents or give them wider latitude to take executive action.
“Is it a door opener?” he said. “It could be a very significant door opener. Absolutely.”
Some lawmakers, including Sen. Lee, are calling for a broader curbing of executive power through legislation.