National Emergencies and the Subjective Prerogative of the Sovereign

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Michael, it is extremely fitting that you raise the seminal issue of the unconstitutionality of the notion of “national emergencies” on this Ides of March, a day commemorating the famous coup d’état in 44 B. C. by outraged Romans distressed at the transformation of their republic into an empire under the tyrant Julius Caesar. Tyrants have always claimed the undelegated power of subjective prerogative to exercise and expand their coercion over their subject peoples. History is replete with egregious examples, such as the Stuart monarchs in the British Isles. The exercise of these preemptory powers by Charles I led to the English Civil War. Later the similar exercise of such powers by Abraham Lincoln led to the American Civil War. These extra-constitutional powers of the imperial presidency are claimed to have their spurious origins in the war-making authority of the head of state. Many observers forget that during the Watergate scandal period Congress also carefully examined the vital constitutional questions surrounding the concept of national emergenciesand their abuse by various presidents. This minor exercise in constitutional clarification and sanity was soon disregarded by the Reagan regime’s REX 84 “continuity of government” plan and the unitary executive theory put forth during the George W. Bush administration. Michael, you mentioned that the word “emergency” does not appear in the Constitution. This brings to mind the amazingly relevant and parallel discussion by constitutional scholar, abolitionist, and individualist anarchist Lysander Spooner in his superb volume, The Unconstitutionality of Slavery, concerning the crucial concepts of “original intent” and “original meaning” of the language of the Constitution. Spooner carefully points out that the words “slavery” or “slaves” do not appear in the Constitution, and that a secret interpretation or covert hidden meaning permitting this heinous practice cannot be inferred by this foundational document. Here are James Corbett and Thomas Woods examining Spooner’s great work in this regard.

11:33 am on March 15, 2014