Presidential Authority and Responsibility- The Coming Constitutional Crisis

by | Feb 17, 2019 |

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With the signing of the Bill from congress that provides for 1.4 billion dollars for President Trump’s plan to build a border wall and his subsequent declaration of a national emergency; that being the chaos and crime on the border, we have lit the path of a true constitutional crisis.

The US Government is set up to have checks and balances on power. Each of the three branches, the executive (President), The Legislative (Congress) and the Judicial (Courts) are considered co-equal branches of government, specifically so that no one branch can overpower the others. If they did, we would have tyranny.

The battle over a secure border and the president’s declaration of an emergency to secure that border, basically a go around of congress who refuse to enact legislation to secure the border properly, has set the stage for a real constitutional crisis that we have only hinted at until now in the modern era.

To be sure other presidents have declared emergencies, including President Obama. There are currently 31 emergency declarations still active. These declarations have been met with some disagreement, but in the long run, acceptance. The reasons they have been accepted come down to two specific ones that I can see. One, the emergency was something most Americans could identify with the problem at the root of the declaration and two, the American people, Congress included, recognized that the President is specifically tasked with protecting the country.

The President’s number one job is to protect the country and all of us; the congress is not tasked with that responsibility and the courts are not tasked with our protection.

This makes the declaration of an emergency a very serious action. When we look at the argument for declaring an emergency on the southern border, we have to look at the facts.

There are drugs, drugs that are killing 40K Americans a year, pouring over our borders. People argue that the drugs are mostly coming over through the ports of entry, but that is a misnomer because that is where we are finding lots of drugs. We have no idea how much of these killer drugs are coming over the border at places where we do not have a wall or surveillance because we don’t know what has come through. That’s the point. The argument is made simply to back up the anti-wall argument that the wall is not needed because the drugs are at the check points.

We have some dangerous people coming over the border. Not every illegal immigrant coming over the border is a killer, gang member or otherwise deadly person, but we know that there are some of those kinds of people coming over. And we also know that people who are bent on criminal activity, murder homicide, drug trafficking, human trafficking and other activities that cause damage to our society are coming over the border. That fact alone should be enough to close the gaps in the wall. How do we accept the death or rape of one American if that death or assault could have been prevented? Is that the price we pay to feel good about our open society? Explain that to the victims and their families.

The argument that there are murders and rapes in American already is bogus and meant to act as a subterfuge. Because our own citizens rape and murder does that mean we should accept one more rape or murder that we could have prevented? Should we allow one more woman to be victimized because we are good people who love everyone? Why do we have police forces in our country if not to prevent crime. Allowing any number of assaults or murders is reason enough to close the gaps in the border wall.

There are people conducting human trafficking over our open borders. How many thousands of women and children have been dragged over the border and forced into a life of prostitution and slavery?

We know this has happened and is happening today! How do we allow one more innocent child or women to be brought into the USA only to be sold into sexual slavery? How many of these innocent victims are we willing to accept? The answer, from a decent society is clear- NOT ONE MORE.

This reality is reason enough to close the gaps in the open border.

It is clear that I could go on and on with the negatives of an open border. The alternative is a secured border that we control, and we decide who can come in and when, we prevent the drugs and human trafficking and we bring in the good people wo truly do want a better life in America, but we do it legally.

So, this sets up the Constitutional crisis I see coming.

The president is responsible for keeping America safe, it’s his job and his constitutional responsibility. Therefore, whether you like Trump or not it doesn’t matter, he is the president and he is responsible to keep the country safe. In his judgement he believes we need a solid border wall to do his job.

He was elected by us, the people of the USA to fulfill the responsibilities of the job of president and nothing should prevent him from fulfilling his constitutional duties. That means he should build the wall.

The congress can disagree, and the courts can disagree, but they are not tasked with the security of the USA therefore they can try to withhold the money, but the president can get it from other sources legally at his disposal, the courts can issue an injunction to stop him from fulfilling his duties, but he can disregard them both. They are co-equal branches of government.

The idea that a lower level judge can stop the president of the United States from doing his duty is absurd on its face. Of course, the judge can issue the stop work order and tell the president he cannot use the money for the wall, but the president should acknowledge the order and keep on building the wall, it’s his duty and his responsibility, and this is where the constitutional crisis will kick in.

In almost every case in our history the three branches have cooperated and worked out their differences, but this time we have political motives at work. The politics of this is that one party in our country wants open borders and the judges who are of the same belief will use their position to exert their political will and prevent the wall from being constructed. This cannot stand, even if the Supreme Court declared he can not do it. They are not responsible for the security of the nation, the president is, and they are equal branches of power and authority.

If the president were to declare that he was going to ignore a stop order from a lower court or even the Supreme Court to fulfill his duties a couple of things might happen.

One, the congress could impeach him for ignoring the Supreme Court, if the Senate agreed they could remove him. Two, he could ignore their impeachment and refuse to leave stating that as the chief executive of the co-equal Executive branch of government and he is fulfilling his constitutional duties by building the wall and therefore an impeachment for executing his constitutional duties is not a valid reason for impeachment. This is where national cohesion would fall apart.

I am not naïve, I know this scenario is a recipe for civil war. The only way to remove a president who does not agree to go would be to arrest him or use the military, and neither one is guaranteed to take place if we went down this road. There are millions of Americans that want the wall and find the actions of the congress and the courts to be corrupt and therefore invalid. Expecting that the military would remove a president, their commander in chief, on the orders of a corrupt congress or court system is an intangible factor at this point. We have reached that point in time where we might find out. 

My argument here is this; since the president is responsible for the safety of the country and he thinks a wall is the answer then he should build the wall without interference from the congress or the courts. If the other two co-equal branches of government want to disagree for political reasons then our country is almost at an end anyway, this would simply be the final act of a dying nation.

It is up to the people of the United States to decide where we go from here at this place and time in our history. The slow drip of time has conditioned all of us to believe that the courts are the final arbiter of all things involving our lives, therefore the courts have become the most powerful of the three co-equal branches of our government or in the paraphrased words from a famous book- “Some branches are more equal than others”. Is this what we want to live with?

I have said for some time that I believe the cold civil war had begun some time ago, this issue and the president’s declaration might be the next step.

I have been CHASING JUSTICE throughout my career friends. My goal is to be THE VOICE for the voiceless. Reach out with your own stories and thoughts on justice…  JPanagro@Americaoutloud.com 

Listen to Lt. Joe Pangaro Weekdays 3 PM EST on his show ‘Chasing Justice’

Lt. Joseph Pangaro

Joseph Pangaro is a retired Police Lieutenant from the Township of Ocean, Monmouth County, NJ. During his 27 year career, Lieutenant Pangaro served in many capacities. After nine years as a patrol officer, he was transferred to the detective bureau, where he served 12 years. During that time, Lt. Pangaro prepared and executed hundreds of search warrants, testified in numerous high profile criminal court cases, and excelled in the area of criminal investigations, including; homicides, sexual assaults, drug crimes, fraud, burglary, juvenile investigations, economic crimes, vice crimes, quality of life crimes and other crimes of violence. He has acted in undercover capacities and worked with numerous local, county, state, and federal agencies. Joseph Pangaro served as a sergeant in the detective bureau, supervising a group of highly motivated and active officers in the unit and the “Quality of Life” unit.

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