Rescind Emergency Powers!

August 21, 2005 at 03:26 PM | categories: liberty rants | View Comments

In my last post I spoke of very current legislation. Today I wish to bring to attention something of a much more historical nature. In this country we have a terrible habit of introducing legislation that benefits us now and forgetting about it later once we took care of whatever it was that peice of legislation was about. In the most benign sense this is why we have so many so called "blue laws" still in effect which no one seems to care about, and in the most serious instance we have emergency powers. It is this latter part that I wish to bring to light.

  • March 1933: Franklin D. Roosevelt declares a national state of emergency.
  • So does Harry Trueman on December 16, 1950
  • So does President Nixon on March 23, 1970 and again on August 15, 1971
Over 72 years later, we are still officially in a state of emergency. Not one of the above emergency power acts/orders have been declared "over." And why would they? They provide for all three of the branches of government sweeping and practically absolute power. Once they get the power, why would they give it up? Now, you might say, well obviously we're out of the Great Depression. THAT emergency is over. Well, in 1973, Senate report 93-549 declared that "Since March the 9th, 1933, the united States has been in a state of declared national emergency." That was Congress themselves acknowledging the fact that these powers haven't gone away. That same report realized that over 470 federal laws were currently enabled by these acts. Countless more have been so enabled since 1973. In light of my last post, I have promised myself that I will write a letter a month to my representatives. So, without further ado, here is my first letter. Please take this letter and send it to your representatives as well. I grant anyone public domain usage of the following letter, take it as it is (but put your name and your representative), or personalize it as you see fit.

Ryan McGuire
(address removed)

Senator Robert Bennett
2390 West Highway 56, Suite 4B
Cedar City, UT 84720
Phone: (435) 865-1335
Fax: (435) 865-1481

Mr. Bennett,

I wish to express to you my concern for something that is of great importance to our continued prosperousness and security as a nation and as a republic.

In March of 1933 president Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a national state of emergency in response to the Great Depression and on March 9, 1933 Congress passed the Emergency Banking Relief Act. Three other declarations of emergency have been invoked since:

  • President Truman on December 16, 1950
  • President Nixon on March 23, 1970
  • President Nixon on August 15, 1971

These states of emergency have yet to be officially rescinded. Each of them have provided for our president extraordinary powers. They have allowed him to violate our rights as sovereign citizens and have breeched his trust in the Constitution. Congressmen James Beck knew this right away after the passage of the 1933 Act:

"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 lip-service, but the result is the same."

In Senate report 93-549 in 1973 it was acknowledged that "Since March the 9th, 1933, the united States has been in a state of declared national emergency."

I am afraid that if our government continues to usurp power that is not through a constitutional means and that if we remain in a constant state of emergency, we cannot maintain the individual liberties that we have fought for so dearly.

By not rescinding these emergency acts, I fear that it sets a dangerous precedent that the executive branch of our government can usurp whatever power they feel like, going so far as to ignore the constitution and the checks that it should properly place on it. These usurpations even go so far as declaring war, seizing property, instituting martial law, restricting travel of peaceful citizens, and regulating private businesses when he has no constitutional authority to do so.

Our Founding Fathers properly saw the limitations the government should have against these kinds of forces. They are expressly written in our Constitution as well as the rest of our founding documents. Benjamin Franklin put it very succinctly:

"They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

I urge you to consider where these dangerous trends may take us in the future. Please understand the importance of rescinding these four states of emergency and all of their accompanying legislation. Please take action to return our country to a state of peace and respect for individual liberty.


(signed Ryan McGuire)

Ryan McGuire

Here is a Microsoft Word formatted version

Update Aug 22: I have sent off my letter to Senators Bennett and Hatch, Congressmen Mathesen, and George Bush himself. I will let you know as soon as I recieve any response from them.

To find out your representatives you can find out on the GovTrack website (the easiest way is to enter your nine digit zip code)

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