The recent emergency declaration on the issue of border barrier makes US President Donald Trump may not be unusual one. This will be his declaration of a national emergency—about a third as many as his three immediate predecessors in their two terms.
The number of declared emergencies puts Trump on a par with Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. President Gerald Ford, who signed the 1976 National Emergencies Act, did not declare an emergency under it. His successor, Jimmy Carter, made two such declarations during his single term—one of which is still in effect.
In all, presently as many as 32 Presidential declarations of a national emergency remain in effect, counting Trump’s recent action, while 21 expired or were canceled. The overwhelming majority of national emergencies involved either blocking access to U.S.-held assets for bad actors on the world stage or preventing financial transactions with those countries or with international entities and individuals.
Trump’s three immediate predecessors—Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton—each served two four-year terms. Obama declared a national emergency 13 times and nine of those emergencies are still in effect, according to the Congressional Research Service. The younger Bush declared a national emergency 14 times, and 10 are still in effect. Clinton made 14 declarations, six of which remain in effect. Reagan, during two terms, and the elder Bush, during his single term, each declared four national emergencies. None is still in effect.
Although declaring a national emergency is nothing new, Trump’s action faces litigation in part because, unusually, it comes after Congress didn’t provide the amount of border wall funding he requested.
The president Trump said he rightly predicted a lawsuit would be filed in a district court under the jurisdiction of the liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “I have the absolute right to call a national emergency,” Trump said, adding: “I actually think we’ll do very well in the 9th Circuit … because it is an open-and-closed case.” Previous national emergencies dealt primarily with economic sanctions on other countries.