Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz has been known to defend President Donald Trump on television when it comes to a number of issues. The breaking point for the liberal attorney apparently came with Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in order to fund a wall along the Mexican border.
“Well I think it’s very questionable,” Dershowitz said on Fox News Monday morning. “Emergency generally means something that happens so quickly that there isn’t time for Congress to act. I don’t think an emergency includes a failure by the branch of government that’s authorized to expend funds — namely the House of Representatives and the Congress — to authorize funds that the president wants to see authorized and they refuse to do it. I don’t think that’s an emergency.”
Dershowitz said that Congress could amend the law for national emergencies so that it’s clear that it does not apply to expenditures, as it does in the current case. Of course, Dershowitz noted that Trump would be able to veto such a move, unless there was enough support in Congress to override a veto.
“Will that happen? I don’t know,” Dershowitz said. In order to override a veto, a significant number of Republicans would have to oppose Trump on this. House Democrats could force Senate Republicans to take sides on the issue. Dershowitz did note that some Republicans have opposed Trump’s declaration of emergency, considering it to be a “presidential power grab.”
Dershowitz went on to predict how he thinks the matter will play out through the court system, as the emergency declaration has already resulted in lawsuits, with more likely to come.
“You’re going to have some district courts striking down at least some parts of the emergency provision and the expenditures. Others may uphold it,” he said, and the matter would eventually make its way to the Supreme Court. “The real question is what happens in the meantime. If the courts grant a stay, they’re basically saying there’s no emergency.”
As for how the Supreme Court addresses the issue of the emergency declaration or a possible stay, Dershowitz was unsure as to how it would play out because he’s not quite sure how Chief Justice John Roberts might rule.
“We don’t know how Justice Roberts will vote on an issue like this, so it’s really unpredictable whether the president will prevail or not prevail,” Dershowitz continued.
Later in the interview, the discussion went back to issues where Dershowitz has had Trump’s back, particularly the Russia investigation and the idea that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may have wanted to get cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
Dershowitz said that the questions raised about Rosenstein are significant enough for hearings to be called.
“I think that there ought to be hearings,” he said. “I think any law enforcement official who thinks that the 25th Amendment operates in a case like this is disqualified from serving in government.”
[Image via Fox News screengrab]