Rand Paul Slams Biden’s Abuse of Emergency Powers: “There Is No Pandemic Exception to the Constitution”
“The Constitution doesn’t go away — we don’t dissolve the Constitution just because there’s an infection out.”
Remember when Biden declared, “The pandemic is over”? He professed those feelings to 60 Minutes on September 18, 2022.
Nearly two months later (November 13), he extended the COVID emergency AGAIN. This time, through at least April 11, 2023. Where’s the emergency? That’s what we all want to know.
Senator Rand Paul had just about enough of this nonsense. So yesterday (November 15), the Kentucky Senator stood up for the American people and channeled our discontent into a masterfully-written speech. Here’s what he had to say:
The Constitution is the guarantor of our liberties. So it should come as no surprise that those who crave power to rule over their fellow man always seek to suspend the Constitution by declaring and perpetuating emergencies. This is the trick that always seems to work: declare an emergency and exempt yourself from the Constitutional restraints on power that are necessary for the preservation of a free society. It is a strategy that has existed since antiquity.
As our founders enshrined in the Constitution a system of checks and balances, so too did the founders of the Roman Republic. But when the crisis emerged, the Romans dissolved the restraints on power. That is how the Roman Republic died and how Caesar became dictator for life. There is a touch of Caesar-ism in the COVID national emergency. The President told us that the pandemic is over, yet the National Emergency remains.
When the Senate last voted to terminate the COVID National Emergency in March, the White House issued a veto threat. At the time, the White House said, “Although we have made tremendous progress in combating the virus, the virus continues to pose a risk to the American people and our healthcare system.” Caesar could not have said it better himself. The administration demands credit for how it wielded extraordinary powers, but it can never claim total success — for doing so would rob the administration of the power it so craves.
Have we forgotten what emergency powers look like? They look like lockdowns where livelihoods and lives are destroyed. They look like a travel mask mandate. They look like robbing children of a full education. They look like the closure of places of worship. They look like a vaccine mandate for those working in large companies and the military. They look like an eviction moratorium, in which the CDC claims the power to destroy contracts and effectively seize private property.
When was the last time you heard the President tell the country it was time to relax emergency powers? His actions validate the argument made in Robert Higgs’ classic work, ‘Crisis and Leviathan.’ Higgs demonstrated that governments justify the exercise of extraordinary powers during an emergency. But when the crisis ends, even if government gives back some of the powers, it will never voluntarily relinquish all its newfound authorities.
We are free from these monstrous policies only because the courts forced the President to abide by the Constitution. In restoring the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, the Supreme Court held that even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. It bears repeating. The Constitution doesn’t go away — we don’t dissolve the Constitution just because there’s an infection out. The rights you are granted under the Constitution — the rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution remain in place even in a pandemic.
When the court struck down the vaccine mandate, the court stated, “This is no everyday exercise of federal power. It is a significant encroachment into the lives and health of vast numbers of employees.”
When the courts restored the people’s liberty, you could count on the Biden administration to express disappointment and claim that disaster was just around the corner. But the administration, time and time again, was proven wrong. And now even the President himself acknowledges what is plain to see for anyone willing to recognize what is in front of one’s own face. We are learning to live with COVID.
The one thing he does not seem to acknowledge is that the time for emergency measures has long since passed. A president should not be able to unilaterally aggrandize his powers by saying a magic word. If he will not terminate the National Emergency himself, it falls to us, the people’s representatives in Congress to act. And in the wise words of one court, “Remind President Biden that there is no pandemic exception to the Constitution.” Let us end this national emergency and restore the Constitution.
Hear, hear! Thank you, Senator Paul, for bravely speaking up for the American people. The emergency powers should have been lifted long ago.
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This article has been republished from the author’s Substack.
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