National Emergencies Act
|Long title||An Act to terminate certain authorities with respect to national emergencies still in effect, and to provide for orderly implementation and termination of future national emergencies.|
|Enacted by||the 94th United States Congress|
|Effective||September 14, 1976|
|Statutes at Large||90 Stat. 1255|
|Titles amended||50 U.S.C.: War and National Defense|
|U.S.C. sections created||50 U.S.C. ch. 34 § 1601 et seq.|
The National Emergencies Act (Pub.L. 94–412, 90 Stat. 1255, enacted September 14, 1976, codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1601-1651) is a United States federal law passed to stop open-ended states of national emergency and formalize the power of Congress to provide certain checks and balances on the emergency powers of the President. The Act of Congress imposes certain "procedural formalities" on the President when invoking such powers. The perceived need for the law arose from the scope and number of laws granting special powers to the executive in times of national emergency (or public danger).
Under the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 ("TWEA"), starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, presidents had the power to declare emergencies without limiting their scope or duration, without citing the relevant statutes, and without congressional oversight. The Supreme Court in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer limited what a president could do in such an emergency, but did not limit the emergency declaration power itself. A 1973 Senate investigation found (in Senate Report 93-549) that four declared emergencies remained in effect: the 1933 banking crisis with respect to the hoarding of gold, a 1950 emergency with respect to the Korean War, a 1970 emergency regarding a postal workers strike, and a 1971 emergency in response to inflation. Under the NEA, Congress declared all of these prior emergencies terminated. It then passed the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to restore the emergency power in a limited, overseeable form.
At least two constitutional rights are subject to revocation during a state of emergency:
- The right of habeas corpus, under Article 1, Section 9;
- The right to a grand jury for members of the National Guard when in actual service, under Fifth Amendment.
In addition, many provisions of statutory law are contingent on a state of national emergency, as many as 500 by one count.
It was due in part to concern that a declaration of "emergency" for one purpose should not invoke every possible executive emergency power that Congress in 1976 passed the National Emergencies Act. Among other provisions, this act requires the President to declare formally a national emergency and to specify the statutory authorities to be used under such a declaration.
There were 32 declared national emergencies between 1976 and 2001.  Most of these were for the purpose of restricting trade with certain foreign entities under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) (50 U.S.C. 1701-1707).
- Senate Report 93-495
- Continuity of Government Plan
- National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive
- Rex 84
- Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Gerald R. Ford: "Statement on Signing the National Emergencies Act.," September 14, 1976". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara.
- H. Rep. No. 95-459, at 7 (1977) "[the TWEA] has become essentially an unlimited grant of authority for the President to exercise, at his discretion, broad powers in both the domestic and international economic arena, without congressional review. These powers may be exercised so long as there is an unterminated declaration of national emergency on the books, whether or not the situation with respect to which the emergency was declared bears any relationship to the situation with respect to which the President is using the authorities"
- Executive Order 6102
- Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Harry S. Truman: "Proclamation 2914 - Proclaiming the Existence of a National Emergency," December 16, 1950". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara.
- S. Rep. No. 93-549, at 2 (1973), http://www.ncrepublic.org/images/lib/SenateReport93_549.pdf
- F.J. Murray, "Wartime Presidential Powers Supersede Liberties," Washington Times, Sept. 18, 2001, pp. A1, A12, as quoted in Ref. 2.
- H.C. Relyea, "Martial Law and National Emergency", Congressional Research Service Report for Congress RS21024, updated January 7, 2005: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/RS21024.pdf.
- H.C. Relyea, "National Emergency Powers", Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, order code 98-505 GOV, updated September 18, 2001: http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/6216.pdf.
- H.C. Relyea, "National Emergency Powers", Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, order code 98-505 GOV, updated November 13, 2006: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/98-505.pdf.
- "Toward Comprensive Reform of America's Emergency Law Regime," including compendium of national emergency powers