Here’s one for the Duh files. John Yoo, principal author of the infamous torture memos that authorized waterboarding and worse in the Bush administration, says that if Trump declared a state of emergency over Mexican border immigration, that would be perfectly constitutional.
In related news, water is wet. After all, this is the man who says the president has the legal authority to order a child’s testicles crushed in order to get information from their father (yes, that’s actually his position). And yes, we do need the president to be able to act quickly in the face of a real emergency, but that can’t just mean that anything he says is an emergency actually is one. There must be some limitations on that power and the law does explicitly allow for judicial review of such declarations.
DANA PERINO (CO-HOST): John Yoo is a former deputy assistant attorney general, one of our best legal minds that we have on the show, and I’m curious how you see this national emergency. Do you think the president has the legal authority to do it for this issue?
JOHN YOO (FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL): Dana, I think the question that many people are fighting about is the policy. But, I think, on legality, President Trump is on solid ground. If you think about it, as we’ve talked about on the show before, the whole purpose of having a president, the reason the founders created it, was that some branch of government could respond quickly, decisively, swiftly to emergencies and crises.
And the case for an actual crisis is so weak that it’s simply laughable. Illegal border crossings are less than half what they were a decade ago. We don’t have a single case of someone passing through the Mexican border who has committed terrorism. And immigrants, legal and illegal, commit far fewer violent crimes than American citizens here do. So there’s simply no serious case to be made for the existence of such a crisis. Without such a justification, there is no such legal authority.