President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, made from the Rose Garden on Friday just before President’s Day weekend, did not come as a surprise to anyone following the debate over border security. In fact, the event was standard political theater, and everyone watching knows what will come next. As Trump said in an oddly sing-songy voice as he walked his audience through it, “We will have a national emergency. And we’ll be sued.” Eventually, he said, “We’ll win in the Supreme Court.”

Much of the coverage leading up to Trump’s announcement has appropriately focused on whether the situation at the border is, in fact, an emergency (it’s not) and on whether or not the precedent set by Trump using executive power to bypass Congress on this issue amounts to defining emergency down. Many conservative critics have warned (correctly) that the logic Trump used today in the Rose Garden could be used by a Democratic president to declare climate change a national emergency and fund a Green New Deal, for example.

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