In November, I joined with 40 other foundation leaders to call on our colleagues across philanthropy to respond to unprecedented threats facing our democracy—threats to the independence of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and to the rule of law generally.
Less than three months later, our country is facing a new constitutional crisis that demands our leadership and resolve. We must not accept President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to secure funding to build a wall on our Southern border. He is blatantly taking a page straight out of the authoritarian playbook and his action must not stand.
The President’s declaration demonstrates his disregard for our Constitution and his willingness to circumvent our system of checks and balances. Declaring an emergency when none exists sets a dangerous precedent for the rule of law. It is the quintessential example of the executive branch appropriating power to itself. Just as we cannot allow any president to weaken the independence of our system of justice, we must also not allow this president to unilaterally achieve his policy goals at the expense of the Constitution’s promise of parity between the co-equal branches of our government.