Using emergency powers to build the wall will open a Pandora's Box

This threat need not be taken literally in order for Republicans to take it seriously. An emergency declaration for The Wall would dramatically accelerate our tribal win-at-all costs, norms-be-damned politics and it takes only a minimum of imagination to guess what a President Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might do with such powers.

The Brennan Center for Justice may lean left, but it is already sounding the alarm over the 136 statutory powers “that may become available to the president upon declaration of a national emergency.” Each one of these poses potentially grave constitutional dangers. In his dissent in Korematsu v. United States, the case that upheld the internment of Japanese Americans, Justice Robert Jackson had warned that every one of the president’s emergency powers “lies about like a loaded weapon, ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need.”