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National Emergencies Do Not Expand Constitutional Power

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Published August 27, 2020

During national emergencies, it is common for Congress and the presidency to increase their authority. However, the US Constitution sets certain limits on federal powers in order to protect the rights of individuals and states. These constitutional limitations prevent temporary violations from becoming permanent and keep leaders from cultivating emergencies in order to expand their authority.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some examples of the federal government trying to expand its powers in times of emergency?
  2. What are the benefits of a federalist system (especially in times of national emergency)?

Additional Resources:

  • Read “Emergencies Do Not Expand Constitutional Power,” by Clint Bolick via Defining Ideas. Available here.
  • Read “Federalism Rediscovered,” by Clint Bolick via Defining Ideas. Available here.
  • Read “Federalism: The Grand Design,” by Clint Bolick. Available here.