As referenced in Episode 036 – The Next Step Radio Show – Vyzygoth Raw and pertaining to Emergency Powers Statutes.
Emergency Powers Statutes
(Senate Report 93-549)
In this 1973 official report, the U.S. Senate admits that the Emergency Powers given to the President under the pretense of the National Emergency of 1933 have remained in force and that the normal function of the Federal government has been suspended.
Report No. 93-549
EMERGENCY POWERS STATUTES:
PROVISIONS OF FEDERAL LAW NOW IN EFFECT DELEGATING TO THE EXECUTIVE EXTRAORDINARY AUTHORITY IN TIME OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON THE TERMINATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY UNITED STATES SENATE NOVEMBER 19, 1973
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1973
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON THE TERMINATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY
FRANK CHURCH, Idaho Co-Chairman
PHILIP A. HART, Michigan
CLAIBORNE PELL, Rhode Island
ADLAI E. STEVENSON III, Illinois
CHARLES McC MATHIAS, Jr., Maryland
CLIFFORD P. CASE, New Jersey
JAMES B. PEARSON, Kansas
CLIFFORD P. HANSEN, Wyoming
WILLIAM G. MILLER, Staff Director
THOMAS A. DINE, Professional Staff
Since March 9, 1933, the United States has been in a state of declared national emergency. In fact, there are now in effect four presidentially proclaimed states of national emergency: In addition to the national emergency declared by President Roosevelt in 1933, there are also the national emergency proclaimed by President Truman on December 16, 1950, during the Korean conflict, and the states of national emergency declared by President Nixon on March 23, 1970, and August 15, 1971.
These proclamations give force to 470 provisions of Federal law. These hundreds of statutes delegate to the President extraordinary powers, ordinarily exercised by the Congress, which affect the lives of American citizens in a host of all-encompassing manners. This vast range of powers, taken together, confer enough authority to rule the country without reference to normal Constitutional processes.
Under the powers delegated by these statutes, the President may: seize property; organize and control the means of production; seize commodities; assign military forces abroad; institute martial law; seize and control all transportation and communication; regulate the operation of private enterprise; restrict travel; and, in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens.
With the melting of the cold war–the developing detente with the Soviet Union and China, the stable truce of over 20 years duration between North and South Korea, and the end of U.S. involvement in the war in Indochina–there is no present need for the United States Government to continue to function under emergency conditions.
The Special Committee on the Termination of the National Emergency was created (1) to examine the consequences of terminating the declared states of national emergency that now prevail; to recommend what steps the Congress should take to ensure that the termination can be accomplished without adverse effect upon the necessary tasks of governing; and, also, to recommend ways in which the United States can meet future emergency situations with speed and effectiveness but without relinquishment of congressional oversight and control.
In accordance with this mandate, the Special Committee–in conjunction with the Executive branch, expert constitutional authorities, as well as former high officials of this Government–is now engaged in a detailed study to determine the most reasonable ways to restore normalcy to the operations of our Government.
A first and necessary step was to bring together the body of statutes, which have been passed by Congress, conferring extraordinary powers upon the Executive branch in times of national emergency.
This has been a most difficult task. Nowhere in the Government, in either the Executive or Legislative branches, did there exist a complete catalog of all emergency statutes. Many were aware that there had been a delegation of an enormous amount of power but, of how much power, no one knew. In order to correct this situation, the Special Committee staff was instructed to work with the Executive branch, the Library of Congress, and knowledgeable legal authorities to compile an authoritative list of delegated emergency powers.
This Special Committee study, which contains a list of all provisions of Federal law, except the most trivial, conferring extraordinary powers in time of national emergency, was compiled by the staff under the direction of Staff Director William G. Miller, and Mr. Thomas A. Dine; utilizing the help of the General Accounting Office, the American Law Division of the Library of Congress, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, and the Office of Emergency Planning.
The Special Committee is grateful for the assistance provided by Jack. Goldklang of the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice; Lester S. Jayson, the director of the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress; Joseph E. Ross, head of the American Law Division of CRS; and especially Raymond Celada of the American Law Division and his able assistants, Charles V. Dale and Grover S. Williams; Paul Armstrong of the General Accounting Office; Linda Lee, Patrick Norton, Roland Moore, William K. Sawyer, Audrey Hatry, Martha Mecham, and David J. Kyte.
The Special Committee will also publish a list of Executive Orders, issued pursuant to statutes brought into force by declared states of emergency, at a later date.
CHARLES McC. MATHIAS, JR.
Note 1: S. Res. 9, 93d Cong., 1st Sess.
EMERGENCY POWERS STATUTES:
PROVISIONS OF FEDERAL LAW NOW IN EFFECT DELEGATING TO THE EXECUTIVE EXTRAORDINARY AUTHORITY IN TIME OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY
November 19, 1973.-Ordered to be printed
Mr. MATHIAS (for Mr. CHURCH) as co-chairman of the Special Committee on the Termination of the National Emergency, submitted the following
[Pursuant to S. Res. 9, 93d Cong.]
(A) A BRIEF HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE ORIGINS OF EMERGENCY POWERS NOW IN FORCE
A majority of the people of the United States have lived all of their lives under emergency rule. For 40 years, freedoms and governmental procedures guaranteed by the Constitution have, in varying degrees, been abridged by laws brought into force by states of national emergency. The problem of how a constitutional democracy reacts to great crises, however, far antedates the Great Depression. As a philosophical issue, its origins reach back to the Greek city-states and the Roman Republic. And, in the United States, actions taken by the Government in times of great crises have–from, at least, the Civil War–in important ways, shaped the present phenomenon of a permanent state of national emergency.
American political theory of emergency government was derived and enlarged from John Locke, the English political-philosopher whose thought influenced the authors of the Constitution. Locke argued that the threat of national crisis-unforeseen, sudden, and potentially catastrophic-required the creation of broad executive emergency powers to be exercised by the Chief Executive in situations where the legislative authority had not provided a means or procedure of remedy. Referring to emergency power in the 14th chapter of his Second Treatise on Civil Government as “prerogative,” Locke suggested that it:
…should be left to the discretion of him that has the executive power…since in some governments the lawmaking power is not always in being and is usually too numerous, and so too slow for the dispatch requisite to executions, and because, also it is impossible to foresee and so by laws to provide for all accidents and necessities that may concern the public, or make such laws as will do no harm, if they are executed with an inflexible rigour on all occasions and upon all persons that may come in their way, therefore there is a latitude left to the executive power to do many things of choice; which the laws do not prescribe.
To what extent the Founding Fathers adhered to this view of the executive role in emergencies is a much disputed issue. Whatever their conceptions of this role, its development in practice has been based largely on the manner in which individual President’s have viewed their office and its functions. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft argued the proper role of the President and, perhaps, their debate best expounds diametrically-opposed philosophies of the presidency. In his autobiography, Roosevelt asserted his “stewardship theory.”
My view was that every Executive officer…was a steward of the people bound actively and affirmatively to do all he could for the people and not to content himself with the negative merit of keeping his talents undamaged in a napkin…My belief was that it was not only [the President’s] right but his duty to do anything that the needs of the Nation demanded unless such action was forbidden by the Constitution or by the laws. Under this interpretation of executive power I did and caused to be done many things not previously done by the President and the heads of departments. I did not usurp power but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power. In other words, I acted for the common well being of all our people whenever and whatever measure was necessary, unless prevented by direct constitutional or legislative prohibition.
Roosevelt compared this principle of “stewardship” to what he called the Jackson-Lincoln theory, and contrasted it to the theory ascribed to William Howard Taft.
Roosevelt’s ideas on the limit of presidential authority and responsibility were vigorously disputed by Taft. In lectures on the presidency—delivered at Columbia University in 1915-1916-Taft responded that: “… the wide field of action that this would give to the Executive one can hardly limit. A President can exercise no power which cannot fairly and reasonably be traced to some specific grant of power.” And he cautioned that: “… such specific grants must be either in the Federal Constitution, or in any act of Congress passed in pursuance thereof. There is no undefined residuum of power which he can exercise because it seems to him to be in the public interest.”
In recent years, most scholars have interpreted the Roosevelt-Taft dispute in Roosevelt’s favor. In the prevailing academic view, Roosevelt is described as “active,” “expansionist,” and “strong.” The historical reality, in fact, does not afford such a sharp distinction either between the actions of these two Presidents, or between their analysis of the problem of emergency powers. Taft, in his concluding remarks to his Columbia lectures, said : “Executive power is limited, so far as it is possible to limit such a power consistent -with that discretion and promptness of action that are essential to preserve the interests of the public in times of emergency or legislative neglect or inaction.” Thus, even Taft was disposed to employ emergency power when the need arose, but, he did not wish to go beyond his own narrower, conservative conception of what was meant by constitutional and legal bounds. Thus, the dispute was over where those bounds lay, rather than the nature of the office itself.
Taft’s successor, Woodrow Wilson, was no less zealous in observing what he thought the Constitution demanded. Faced with the exigencies of World War I, Wilson found it necessary to expand executive emergency powers enormously. In many respects, this expansion of powers in wartime was based on precedents set by Lincoln decades earlier. Unlike Lincoln, however, Wilson relied heavily on Congress for official delegations of authority no matter how broadly these might be.
Wilson’s exercise of power in the First World War provided a model for future Presidents and their advisors. During the preparedeness period of 1915-1916, the submarine crisis in the opening months of 1917, and the period of direct involvement of U.S. armed forces from April 1917 to November 1918, Wilson utilized powers as sweeping as Lincoln’s. Because governmental agencies were more highly organized and their jurisdictions wider, presidential powers were considerably more effective than ever before. Yet, perhaps, because of Wilson’s scrupulous attention to obtaining prior congressional concurrence, there was only one significant congressional challenge to Wilson’s wartime measures.
That challenge came in February-March 1917, following the severance of diplomatic relations with Germany. A group of Senators successfully filibustered a bill authorizing the arming of American merchant ships. In response—records American historian Frank Freidel in his book Roosevelt: the Apprenticeship-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt found an old statute under which the President could proceed without fresh authorization from Congress. Roosevelt, impatient for action, was irritated because Wilson waited a few days before implementing the statute.
Lincoln had drawn most heavily upon his power as Commander-in-Chief; Wilson exercised emergency power on the basis of old statutes and sweeping new legislation–thus drawing on congressional delegation as a source of authority: The most significant Wilsonian innovations were economic, including a wide array of defense and war agencies, modeled to some extent upon British wartime precedents. In August 1916 just prior to the United States entry into the war, Congress at Wilson’s behest established a Council of National Defense-primarily advisory. In 1917, a War Industries Board, also relatively weak, began operating. The ineffectiveness of the economic mobilization led Republicans in Congress-in the winter of 1917-1918 to demand a coalition War Cabinet similar to that in England. Wilson forestalled Congress by proposing legislation delegating him almost total economic power and, even before legislative approval, authorized the War Industries Board to exercise extensive powers. Subsequently Congress enacted Wilson’s measure, the Overman Act, in April 1918. Other legislation extended the economic authority of the Government in numerous directions.
Following the allied victory, Wilson relinquished his wartime authority and asked Congress to repeal the emergency statutes, enacted to fight more effectively the war. Only a food-control measure and the 1917 Trading With the Enemy Act were retained. This procedure of terminating emergency powers when the particular emergency itself has, in fact, ended has not been consistently followed by his successors.
The next major development in the use of executive emergency powers came under Franklin D. RooseveIt. The Great Depression had already overtaken the country by the time of Roosevelt’s inauguration and confronted him with a totally different crisis. This emergency, unlike those of the past, presented a nonmilitary threat. The Roosevelt administration, however, conceived the economic crisis to be a calamity equally as great as a war and employed the metaphor of war to emphasize the depression’s severity. In his inaugural address, Roosevelt said: “I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.”
Many of the members of the Roosevelt administration, including F.D.R. himself, were veterans of the economic mobilization of World War I and drew upon their experiences to combat the new situation. The first New Deal agencies, indeed, bore strong resemblance to wartime agencies and many had the term “emergency” in their titles-such as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and the National Emergency Council.
In his first important official act, Roosevelt proclaimed a National Bank Holiday on the basis of the 1917 Trading With the Enemy Act-itself a wartime delegation of power. New Deal historian William E. Leuchtenburg writes:
When he sent his banking bill to Congress, the House received it with much the same ardor as it had greeted Woodrow Wilson’s war legislation. Speaker Rainey said the situation reminded him of the late war when “on both sides of this Chamber the great war measures suggested by the administration were supported with practical unanimity….Today we are engaged in another war, more serious even in its character and presenting greater dangers to the Republic.”
After only 38 minutes debate, the House passed the administration’s banking bill, sight unseen.
The Trading With the Enemy Act had, however, been specifically designed by its originators to meet only wartime exigencies. By employing it to meet the demands of the depression, Roosevelt greatly extended the concept of “emergencies” to which expansion of executive powers might be applied. And in so doing, he established a pattern that was followed frequently: In time of crisis the President should utilize any statutory authority readily at hand, regardless of its original purposes, with the firm expectation of ex post facto congressional concurrence.
Beginning with F.D.R., then, extensive use of delegated powers exercised under an aura of crisis has become a dominant aspect of the presidency. Concomitant with this development has been a demeaning of the significance of “emergency.” It became a term used to evoke public and congressional approbation, often bearing little actual relation to events. Roosevelt brain-truster, Rexford G. Tugwell, has described the manner in which Roosevelt used declarations of diferent degrees of emergency:
The “limited emergency” was a creature of Roosevelt’s imagination, used to make it seem that he was doing less than he was. He did not want to create any more furor than was necessary. The qualifying adjective had no limiting force. It was purely for public effect. But the finding that an emergency existed opened a whole armory of powers to the Commander-in-Chief, far more than Wilson had had.
Roosevelt and his successor, Harry S. Truman, invoked formal states of emergency to justify extensive delegations of authority during actual times of war. The Korean war, however, by the fact of its never having been officially declared a “war” as such by Congress, further diluted the concept of what constituted circumstances sufficiently critical to warrant the delegation of extraordinary authority to the President.
At the end of the Korean war, moreover, the official state of emergency was not terminated. It is not yet terminated. This may be primarily attributed to the continuance of the Cold War atmosphere which, until recent years, made the imminent threat of hostilities an accepted fact of everyday life, with “emergency” the normal state of affairs. In this, what is for all practical purposes, permanent state of emergency, Presidents have exercised numerous powers-most notably under the Trading With the Enemy Act-legitimated by that ongoing state of national emergency. Hundreds of others have lain fallow, there to be exercised at any time, requiring only an order from the President.
Besides the 1933 (1) and Korean war emergencies (2), two other states of declared national emergency remain in existence. On March 23, 1970, confronted by a strike of Postal Service employees, President Nixon declared a national emergency. (3) The following year, on August 15, 1971, Nixon proclaimed another emergency (4) under which he imposed stringent import controls in order to meet an international monetary crisis. Because of its general language, however, that proclamation could serve as sufficient authority to use a substantial proportion of all the emergency statutes now on the books.
Over the course of at least the last 40 years, then, Presidents have had available an enormous-seemingly expanding and never-ending -range of emergency powers. Indeed, at their fullest extent and during the height of a crisis, these “prerogative” powers appear to be virtually unlimited, confirming Locke’s perceptions. Because Congress and the public are unaware of the extent of emergency powers, there has never been any notable congressional or public objection made to this state of affairs. Nor have the courts imposed significant limitations.
During the New Deal, the Supreme Court initially struck down much of Roosevelt’s emergency economic legislation (Schecter v. United States, 295 U.S. 495). However, political pressures, a change in personnel, and presidential threats of court-packing, soon altered this course of decisions (NLRB v. Jones & Lauqhlin Steel Corp., 301 U.S. 1). Since 1987, the Court has been extremely reluctant to invalidate any congressional delegation of economic powers to the President. It appears that this will not change in the foreseeable future.
In a significant case directly confronting the issue of wartime emergency powers, Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (343 U.S. 579), the Court refused to allow the President to rely upon implied constitutional powers during a crisis. The action at issue involved presidential seizure of steel plants in a manner apparently directly at odds with congressional policy, Justice Black’s plurality opinion specifically acknowledges that if Congress delegates powers to the President for use during an emergency those powers are absolutely valid within constitutional restraints on Congress’ own power to do so. Concurring opinions appear to agree on this point. It should be noted, therefore, that all statutes in this compilation are precisely these kinds of specific congressional delegations of power.
The 2,000-year-old problem of how a legislative body in a democratic republic may extend extraordinary powers for use by the executive during times of great crisis and dire emergency-but do so in ways assuring both that such necessary powers will be terminated immediately when the emergency has ended and that normal processes will be resumed – has not yet been resolved in this country. Too few are aware of the existence of emergency powers and their extent, and the problem has never been squarely faced.
(B) SUMMARY VIEWS OF THE PRESENT STATUS OF EMERGENCY POWERS STATUTES
A review of the laws passed since the first state of national emergency was declared in 1933, reveals a consistent pattern of lawmaking. It is a pattern showing that the Congress, through its own actions, transferred awesome magnitudes of power to the executive ostensibly to meet the problems of governing effectively in times of great crisis. Since 1933, Congress has passed or recodified over 470 significant statutes delegating to the President powers that had been the prerogative and responsibility of the Congress since the beginning of the Republic. No charge can be sustained that the Executive branch has usurped powers belonging to the Legislative branch; on the contrary, the transfer of power has been in accord with due process of normal legislative procedures.
It is fortunate that at this time that, when the fears and tensions of the cold war are giving way to relative peace and detente is now national policy, Congress can assess the nature, quality, and effect of what has become known as emergency powers legislation. Emergency powers make up a relatively small but important body of statutes-some 470 significant provisions of law out of the total of tens of thousands that have been passed or recodified since 1933. But emergency powers laws are of such significance to civil liberties, to the operation of domestic and foreign commerce, and the general functioning of the U.S. Government, that, in microcosm, they reflect dominant trends in the political, economic, and judicial life in the United States.
A number of conclusions can be drawn from the Special Committee’s study and analysis of emergency powers laws now in effect. Congress has in most important respects, except for the final action of floor debate and the formal passage of bills, permitted the Executive branch to draft and in large measure to “make the laws.” This has occurred despite the constitutional responsibility conferred on Congress by Article I Section 8 of the Constitution which states that it is Congress that “makes all Laws…”
Most of the statutes pertaining to emergency powers were passed in times of extreme crisis. Bills drafted in the Executive branch were sent to Congress by the President and, in the case of the most significant laws that ate on the books, were approved with only the most perfunctory committee review and virtually no consideration of their effect on civil liberties or the delicate structure of the U.S. Government of divided powers. For example, the economic measures that were passed in 1933 pursuant to the proclamation of March 5, 1933, by President Roosevelt, asserting that a state of national emergency now existed, were enacted in the most turbulent circumstances. There was a total of only 8 hours of debate in both houses. There were no committee reports; indeed, only one copy of the bill was available an the floor.
This pattern of hasty and inadequate consideration was repeated during World War II when another group of laws with vitally significant and far reaching implications was passed. It was repeated during the Korean war and, again, in most recent memory, during the debate on the Tonkin Gulf Resolution passed on August 6, 1964.
On occasion, legislative history shows that during the limited debates that did take place, a few, but very few, objections were raised by Senators and Congressmen that expressed serious concerns about the lack of provision for congressional oversight. Their speeches raised great doubts about the wisdom of giving such open-ended authority to the President, with no practical procedural means to withdraw that authority once the time of emergency had passed.
For example, one of the very first provisions passed in 1988 was the Emergency Banking Act based upon Section 5(b) of the Trading With the Enemy Act of 1917. The provisions gave to President Roosevelt, with the full approval of the Congress, the authority to control major aspects of the economy, an authority which had formerly been reserved to the Congress. A portion of that provision, still in force, is quoted here to illustrate the kind of open-ended authority Congress has given to the President during the past 40 years:
(b)(1) During the time of war or during any other period of national emergency declared by the President, the President may, through any agency that he may designate, or otherwise, and under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, by means of instructions, licenses, or otherwise-
(A) investigate, regulate, or prohibit, any transactions in foreign exchange, transfers of credit or payments between, by, through, or to any banking institution, and the importing, exporting, hoarding, melting, or earmarking of gold or silver coin or bullion, currency or securities, and
(B) investigate, regulate, direct and compel, nullify, void, prevent or prohibit, any acquisition, holding, withholding, use, transfer, withdrawal, transportation, importation or exportation of, or dealing in, or exercising any right, power, or privilege with respect to, or transactions involving, any property in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest.
by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; and any property or interest of any foreign country or national thereof shall vest, when, as, and upon the terms, directed be the President, in such agency or person as may be designated from time to time by the President, and upon such terms and conditions as the President may prescribe such interest or property shall be held, used, administered, liquidated, sold, or otherwise dealt with in the interest of and for the benefit of the United States, and such designated agency or person may perform any and all acts incident to the accomplishment or furtherance of these purposes; and the President shall, in the manner hereinabove provided, require any person to keep a full record of, and to furnish under oath, in the form of reports or otherwise, complete information relative to any act or transaction referred to in this subdivision either before, during, or after the completion thereof, or relative to any interest in foreign property, or relative to any property in which any foreign country or any national thereof has or has had anger interest, or as may be otherwise necessary to enforce the provisions of this subdivision, and in any case in which a report could be required, the President may, in the manner hereinabove provided, receive the production, or if necessary to the national security or defense, the seizure, of any books of account, records, contracts, letters. memoranda. or other papers, in the custody or control of such person; and the President, may, in the manner hereinabove provided, take other and further measures not inconsistent herewith for the enforcement of this subdivision.
(2) Any payment, conveyance, transfer, assignment, or delivery of property or interest therein, made to or for the account of the United States, or as otherwise directed, pursuant to this subdivision or any rule, regulation, instruction, or direction issued hereunder shall to the extent thereof be a full acquittance and discharge for all purposes of the obligation of the person making the same; and no person shall be held liable in any court for or in respect to anything done or omitted in good faith in connection with the administration of, or in pursuance of and in reliance on, this subdivision, or any rule, regulation, instruction, or direction issued hereunder.
To cite two further examples:
In the context of the war powers issue and the long debate of the past decade over national commitments, 10 U.S.C. 712 is of importance:
10 U.S.C. 712. Foreign governments: detail to assist.
(a) Upon the application of the country concerned, the President, whenever he considers it in the public interest, may detail members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps to assist in military matters-
(1) any republic in North America, Central America, or South America;
(2) the Republic of Cuba, Haiti, or Santo Domingo and
(3) during a war or a declared national emergency, any other country that he considers it advisable to assist in the interest of national defense.
(b) Subject to the prior approval of the Secretary of the military department concerned, a member detailed under this section may accept any office from the country to which he is detailed. He is entitled to credit for all service while so detailed, as if serving with the armed forces of the United States. Arrangements may be made by the President, with countries to which such members are detailed to perform functions under this section, for reimbursement to the United States or other sharing of the cost of performing such functions.
The Defense Department, in answer to inquiries by the Special Committee concerning this provision, has stated that it has only been used with regard to Latin America, and interprets its applicability as being limited to noncombatant advisers. However, the language of Section 712 is wide open to other interpretations. It could be construed as a way of extending considerable military assistance to any foreign country. Since Congress has delegated this power, arguments could be made against the need for further congressional concurrence in a, time of national emergency.
The repeal of almost all of the Emergency Detention Act of 1950 was a constructive and necessary step, but the following provision remains:
18. U.S.C. 1383. Restrictions in military areas and zones.
Whoever, contrary to the restrictions applicable thereto, enters, remains in, leaves, or commits any act in any military area or military zone prescribed under the authority of an Executive order of the President, by the Secretary of the Army, or by any military commander designated by the Secretary of the Army, shall, if it appears that he knew or should have known of the existence and extent of the restrictions or order and that his act was in violation thereof, be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
18 U.S.C. 1383 does not appear on its face to be an emergency power. It was used as the basis for internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II. Although it seems to be cast as a permanent power,the legislative history of the section shows that the statute was intended as a World War II emergency power only, and was not to apply in “normal” peacetime circumstances. Two years ago, the Emergency Detention Act was repealed, yet 18 U.S.C. 1383 has almost the same effect.
Another pertinent question among many, that the Special Committee’s work has revealed, concerns the statutory authority for domestic surveillance by the FBI. According to some experts, the authority for domestic surveillance appears to be based upon an Executive Order issued by President Roosevelt during an emergency period. If it is correct that no firm statutory authority exists, then it is reasonable to suggest that the appropriate committees enact proper statutory authority for the FBI with adequate provision for oversight by Congress.
What these examples suggest and what the magnitude of emergency powers affirm is that most of these laws do not provide for congressional oversight or termination. There are two reasons which can be adduced as to why this is so. First, few, if any, foresaw that the temporary states of emergency declared in 1938, 1939, 1941, 1950, 1970, and 1971 would become what are now regarded collectively as virtually permanent states of emergency (the 1939 and 1941 emergencies were terminated in 1952). Forty years can, in no way, be defined as a temporary emergency. Second, the various administrations who drafted these laws for a variety of reasons were understandably not concerned about providing for congressional review, oversight, or termination of these delegated power’s which gave the President enormous powers and flexibility to use those powers.
The intense anxiety and sense of crisis was contained in the rhetoric of Truman’s 1050 proclamation:
Whereas recent events in Korea and elsewhere constitute a grave threat to the peace of the world and imperil the efforts of this country and those of the United Nations to prevent aggression and armed conflict; and
Whereas world conquest by communist imperialism is the goal of the forces of aggression that have been loosed upon the world; and
Whereas, if the goal of communist imperialism were to be achieved. the people of this country would no longer enjoy the full and rich life they have with God’s help built for themselves and their children; they would no longer enjoy the blessings of the freedom of worshipping as they severally choose, the freedom of reading and listening to what they choose, the right of free speech, including the right to criticize their Government, the right to choose those who will conduct their Government, the right to engage freely in collective bargaining, the right to engage freely in their own business enterprises, and the many other freedoms and rights which are a part of our way of life; and
Whereas, the increasing menace of the forces of communist aggression requires that the national defense of the United States be strengthened as speedily as possible:
Now, therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do proclaim the existence of a national emergency, which requires that the military, naval, air, and civilian defenses of this country be strengthened as speedily as possible to the end that we may be able to repel any and all threats against our national security and to fulfill our responsibilities in the efforts being made through the United Nations and otherwise to bring about lasting peace.
I summon all citizens to make a united effort for the security and well-being of our beloved country and to place its needs foremost in thought and action that the full moral and material strength of the Nation may be readied for the dangers which threaten us.
I summon our farmers, our workers in industry, and our businessmen to make a mighty production effort to meet the defense requirements of the Nation and to this end to eliminate all waste and inefficiency and to subordinate all lesser interests to the common good.
I summon every person and every community to make, with a spirit of neighborliness, whatever sacrifices are necessary for the welfare of the Nation.
I summon all State and local leaders and officials to cooperate fully with the military and civilian defense agencies of the United States in the national defense program.
I summon all citizens to be loyal to the principles upon which our Nation is founded, to keep faith with our friends and allies, and to be firm in our devotion to the peaceful purposes for which the United Nations was founded.
I am confident that we will meet the dangers that confront us with courage and determination, strong in the faith that we can thereby “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington this 16th day of December (10:90 a.m.) in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and seventy-fifth.
HARRY S. TRUMAN
By the President:
Secretary of State
The heightened sense of crisis of the cold war so evident in Truman’s proclamation has fortunately eased. The legislative shortcomings contained in this body of laws can be corrected on the basis of rational study and inquiry.
In the view of the Special Committee, an emergency does not now exist. Congress, therefore, should act in the near future to terminate officially the states of national emergency now in effect.
At the same time, the Special Committee is of the view that it is essential to provide the means for the Executive to act effectively in an emergency. It is reasonable to have a body of laws in readiness to delegate to the President extraordinary powers to use in times of real national emergency. The portion of the concurring opinion given by Justice Jackson in the Youngstown Steel case with regard to emergency powers provides sound and pertinent guidelines for the maintenance of such a body of emergency laws kept in readiness to be used in times of extreme crisis. Justice Jackson, supporting the majority opinion that the “President’s power must stem either from an act of Congress or from the Constitution itself” wrote:
The appeal, however, that we declare the existence of inherent powers ex necessitate to meet an emergency asks us to do what many think would be wise, although it is something the forefathers omitted. They knew what emergencies were, knew the pressures they engender for authoritative action, knew, too, how they afford a ready pretext for usurpation. We may also suspect that they suspected that emergency powers would tend to kindle emergencies. Aside from suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in time of rebellion or invasion, when the public safety may require it, they made no express provision for exercise of extraordinary authority because of a crisis. I do not think we rightfully may so amend their work, and, if we could, I am not convinced it would be wise to do so, although many modern nations have forthrightly recognized that war and economic crises may upset the normal balance between liberty and authority. Their experience with emergency powers may not be irrelevant to the argument here that we should say that the Executive, of his own volition, can invest himself with undefined emergency powers.
Germany, after the First World War, framed the Weimar Constitution, designed to secure her liberties in the Western tradition. However, the President of the Republic, without concurrence of the Reichstag, was empowered temporarily to suspend any or all individual rights if public safety and order were seriously disturbed or endangered. This proved a temptation to every government, whatever its shade of opinion, and in 13 years suspension of rights was invoked on more than 250 occasions. Finally, Hitler persuaded President Von Hindenburg to suspend all such rights, and they were never restored.
The French Republic provided for a very different kind of emergency government known as the “state of siege.” It differed from the German emergency dictatorship particularly in that emergency powers could not be assumed at will by the Executive but could only be granted as a parliamentary measure. And it did not, as in Germany, result in a suspension or abrogation of law but was a legal institution governed by special legal rules and terminable by parliamentary authority.
Great Britain also has fought both World Wars under a sort of temporary dictatorship created by legislation. As Parliament is not bound by written constitutional limitations, it established a crisis government simply by delegation to its Ministers of a larger measure than usual of its own un1imited power, which is exercised under its supervision by Ministers whom it may dismiss, This has been called the “high-water mark in the voluntary surrender of liberty,” but, as Churchill put it, “Parliament stands custodian of these surrendered liberties, and its most sacred duty will be to restore them in their fullness when victory has crowned our exertions and our perseverance.” Thus, parliamentary controls made emergency powers compatible with freedom.
This contemporary foreign experience may be inconclusive as to the wisdom of lodging emergency powers somewhere in a modern government. But it suggests that emergency powers are consistent with free government only when their control is lodged elsewhere than in the Executive who exercises them. That is the safeguard that would be nullified by our adoption of the “inherent pointers” formula.
Nothing in my experience convinces me that such risks are warranted by any real necessity, although such powers would, of course, be an executive convenience.
In the practical working of our Government we already have evolved a technique within the framework of the Constitution by which normal executive powers may be considerably expanded to meet an emergency, Congress may and has granted extraordinary authorities which lie dormant in normal times but may be called into play by the Executive in war or upon proclamation of a national emergency. In 1939, upon congressional request, the Attorney General listed ninety-nine such separate statutory grants by Congress of emergency or wartime executive powers. They were invoked from time to time as need appeared. Under this procedure we retain Government by law-special, temporary law, perhaps, but law nonetheless. The public may know the extent and limitations of the powers that can be asserted, and persons affected may be informed from the statute of their rights and duties.
In view of the ease, expedition and safety with which Congress can grant and has granted large emergency powers, certainly ample to embrace this crisis, I am quite unimpressed with the argument that we should affirm possession of them without statute. Such power either has no beginning or it has no end, If it exists, it need submit to no legal restraint. I am not alarmed that it would plunge us straightway into dictatorship, but it is at least a step in that wrong direction.
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But I have no illusion that any decision by this Court can keep power in the hands of Congress if it is not wise and timely in meeting its problems. A crisis that challenges the President equally, or perhaps primarily, challenges Congress. If not good law, there was worldly wisdom in the maxim attributed to Napoleon that “The tools belong to the man who can use them.” We may say that power to legislate for emergencies belongs in the hands of Congress, but only Congress itself can prevent power from slipping through its fingers.
The essence of our free Government is “leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the law”—to be governed by those impersonal forces which we call law. Our Government is fashioned to fulfill this concept so far as humanly possible. The Executive, except for recommendation and veto, has no legislative power. The executive action we have here originates in the individual will of the President and represents an exercise of authority without law. No one, perhaps not even the President, knows the limits of the power he may seek to exert in this instance and the parties affected cannot learn the limit of their rights. We do not know today what powers over labor or property would be claimed to flow from Government possession if we should legalize it, what rights to compensation would be claimed or recognized, or on what contingency it would end. With all its defects, delays and inconveniences, men have discovered no technique for long preserving free government except that the Executive be under the law, and that the law be made by parliamentary deliberations.
Such institutions may be destined to pass away. But it is the duty of the Court to be last, not first, to give them up.
With these guidelines and against the background of experience of the last 40 years, the task that remains for the Special Committee is to determine – in close cooperation with all the Standing Committees of the Senate and all Departments, Commissions, and Agencies of the Executive branch – which of the laws now in force might be of use in a future emergency. Most important, a legislative formula needs to be devised which will provide a regular and consistent procedure by which any emergency provisions are called into force. It will also be necessary to establish a means by which Congress can exercise effective oversight over such actions as are taken pursuant to a state of national emergency as well as providing a regular and consistent procedure for the termination of such grants of authority.
COMPILING THE TEXTS OF EMERGENCY POWER STATUTES
Pursuant to S. Res. 9 of January 6, 1973, the U.S. Senate directed the Special Committee on the Termination of the National Emergency to study and investigate emergency powers legislation now in force.
From the outset of its work, the Special Committee faced the problem of determining, with reasonable accuracy, the number, nature, and extent of emergency statutes passed by Congress since 1933, which delegate extraordinary powers to the President in time of crisis or impending catastrophe. It was evident, initially, that existing listings of executive emergency powers were either out-of-date or inadequate for the Special Committee’s purposes. It became apparent, too, that the United States Government has been operating under an unrelieved state of emergency of 40 years’ duration. During this period, an enormous body of laws dealing with severe economic crisis and America’s response to three wars had been passed by Congress through an almost unnoticed process of gradual accretion.
In the past, the only way to compile a catalog useful to Congress would have required going through every page of the 86 volumes of the Statutes-at-Large. Fortunately, the U.S. Code (1970 edition and one supplement) was put onto computer tapes by the United States Air Force in the so-called LITE System, which is located at a military facility in the State of Colorado. The Special Committee staff, working in conjunction with the Justice Department, the Library of Congress, and the General Accounting Office, devised several programs for computer searches. These programs were based on a wide spectrum of key words and phrases contained in typical provisions of law, which delegate extraordinary powers. Examples of some trigger words are “national emergency,” “war,” “national defense,” “invasion,” “insurrection,” etc. These programs, designed to produce a computer printout of all provisions of the U.S. Code that pertain to a state of war or national emergency, resulted in several thousand citations. At this point, the Special Committee staff and the staff of the American Law Division, Library of Congress, went through the printouts, separated out all those provisions of the U.S, Code most relevant to war or national emergency, and weeded out those provisions of a trivial or extremely remote nature. Two separate teams worked on the computer printouts and the results were put together in a third basic list of U.S. Code citations.
To determine legislative intent, the U.S. Code citations were then hand checked against the Statutes-at-Large, the Reports of Standing Committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and, where applicable, Reports of Senate and House Conferences.
In addition, the laws passed since the publishing of the 1970 Code were checked and relevant citations were added to the master list. The compilation was then checked against existing official catalogs: That of the Department of Defense, “Digest of War and Emergency Legislation Affecting the Department of Defense”; that of the Once of Emergency Planning, “Guide to the Emergency Powers Conferred by Laws in Effect on January 1, 1969”; and, the 1962 House Judiciary Committee synopsis of emergency powers, “Provisions of Federal Law in Effect in Time of National Emergency.”
The task of compiling a catalog of emergency powers statutes, therefore, has been immeasurably assisted by use of computers, but computers could not replace the need for a systematic and very laborious hand search of all of the volumes of the U.S. Code, the Statutes-at-Large, and Senate and House Reports. The following compilation is intended to be used as a working list of the most relevant emergency provisions of the law. The Special Committee cannot be certain that every statute that could or may be called into use during a time of war or national emergency is in the following compilation. However, the Special Committee believes that the most significant provisions are herein cataloged.