CMD superman logo.jpg SourceWatch, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy,

depends on donations from people like you!

Click here to make a tax-deductable contribution.

State of national emergency

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

Regarding what is known as a State of National Emergency, Paula Demers writes: "According to the United States Constitution, Article 1, only Congress shall make federal law. However, since the War and Emergency Powers Act of 1933, every president has usurped lawmaking powers. Their 'laws' are called Executive Orders (EOs). These EOs, not our Constitution, are what is governing America today. The War and Emergency Powers Act enables ... the president to declare a national emergency, and thereby become a dictator."[1]

"Presidents can also carefully choose their words and declare a war on anything, in order to give them dictatorial control. For example, the War on Drugs makes it possible to use federal authorities, such as FBI, FEMA, BATF, and the military against American citizens. A well-known example is Waco. Another example is Hurricane Opal. After Florida was declared a nation emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) arrived on the scene and residents were placed under marshal law (restricted to the point of not going outside their door). When the federal government does this, it is going against the Constitution. The War and Emergency Powers Act is an unconstitutional act on the part of our government, created so that presidents can bypass Congress, and do whatever they choose."[2]

"It also makes it possible to do away with posse comitatus in cases of 'emergency'. Posse comitatus is what protects American citizens from the military being used against them."[3]


Emergency Powers Statutes (Senate Report 93-549): In this 1973 official report, the U.S. Senate admits that the Emergency Powers given to the President (Franklin D. Roosevelt) under the pretense of the National Emergency of 1933 have remained in force and that the normal function of the Federal government has been suspended. [93d Congress, SENATE Report No. 93-549, 1st Session]. See War Powers Act.


"When Congress declares an emergency, there is no Constitution..."

"The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 [commonly referred to as the "Farm Bill"], a curse to farmers for so many years, was a key piece of legislation in these emergency powers, for it took the power to coin and regulate money away from congress (as provided in the Constitution) and gave it to the president. Tracing back through the archives, further investigation showed how emergency government was simultaneously implemented in all states through a highly coordinated effort coming straight down from FDR and the federal government. Emergency government, outside the bounds of the Constitution, has now been the norm for more than 64 years, according to the Senate's own study."

Gary North writes: "In 1933, Congressman James M. Beck, speaking from the Congressional Record, states:

  • "I think of all the damnable heresies that have ever been suggested in connection with the Constitution, the doctrine of emergency is the worst. it means that when Congress declares an emergency, there is no Constitution. This means its death. It is the very doctrine that the German chancellor is invoking today in the dying hours of the parliamentary body of the German republic, namely, that because of an emergency, it should grant to the German chancellor absolute power to pass any law, even though the law contradicts the Constitution of the German republic. Chancellor Hitler is at least frank about it. We pay the Constitution lipservice, but the result is the same."

North says that what Congressman Beck was saying is "that, of all the damnable heresies that ever existed, this doctrine of emergency has got to be the worst, because once Congress declares an emergency, there is no Constitution."

Beck goes on to say:

  • "But the Constitution of the United States, as a restraining influence in keeping the federal government within the carefully prescribed channels of power, is moribund, if not dead. We are witnessing its death-agonies, for when this bill becomes a law, if unhappily it becomes a law, there is no longer any workable Constitution to keep the Congress within the limits of its Constitutional powers."

North asks "What bill is Congressman Beck talking about?" Beck is referring to the 1933 "Farm Bill", which was passed by the House of Representatives "by a vote of more than three to one." North points out that, "again, we see the doctrine of emergency. Once an emergency is declared, there is no Constitution ... In 1973, in the Emergency Powers Statutes (Senate Report 93-549), the first sentence reads:

"Since March the 9th, 1933, the United States has been in a state of declared national emergency."

North emphasizes that the "Farm Bill" says "that if a national emergency is declared, there is no Constitution." This is further emphasized by the above Emergency Powers Statutes' statement -- "Since March the 9th of 1933, the United States has been," in fact, "in a state of declared national emergency."

The middle language of the Emergency Powers Statutes states:

"This vast range of powers, taken together, confer enough authority to rule the country without reference to normal constitutional processes. Under the powers delegated by these statutes, the President may: seize property; organize and control the means of production; seize commodities; assign military forces abroad; institute martial law; seize and control all transportation and communication; regulate the operation of private enterprise; restrict travel; and, in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens."

North adds that "this situation has continued uninterrupted since March the 9th of 1933. . . ."


"A majority of people of the United States have lived all of their lives under emergency rule. For 40 years, freedoms and governmental procedures guaranteed by the Constitution have in varying degrees been abridged by laws brought into force by states of national emergency..."

  • Senate Report 93-549 (Introduction) 1973.

"The President may: Seize property, organize commodities, assign military forces abroad, institute Martial Law, seize and control and transportation and communication, regulate operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens".

  • Senate Report 93-549; Senate Resolution 9, 93d Congress, 1st. Session (III) 1973.
  • See: Chapter 1, Title 1, Section 48, Statute 1, March 9, 1933; Proclamation 2038; Title 12 U.S.C 95(b).
  • Also see Executive Orders.

Currently, the United States remains in a permanent state of national emergency (22 U.S.C.A. 286d. 1977).

On October 29, 2003, President George W. Bush continued the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) regarding Weapons of mass destruction for 1 year, with the "national emergency declared in Executive Order 12938, as amended."[7]


"NATIONAL EMERGENCY: (as defined in Black's Law Dictionary) A state of national crisis; a situation demanding immediate and extraordinary national or federal action. Congress has made little or no distinction between a "state of national emergency" and a "state of war". Brown v. Bernstein, D.C.Pa., 49 F.Supp. 728, 732."[8]


Related SourceWatch Resources

External links