President Obama today notified Congress that he is extending the U.S. national state of emergency for one more year, in accordance with his duties as chief executive. President George W. Bush placed the United States in a state of emergency on September 14, 2001, three days after the September 11 attacks. A national state of emergency cannot continue for more than two years without being renewed by the President.
This action is not apparently related to the current credible terrorist threats announced last night against New York City and Washington, D.C., rather, is a statement on the overall threat level.
Today, President Obama notified Congress via two separate notices:
The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on
September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues. For this
reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in
effect after September 14, 2011, the national emergency with
respect to the terrorist threat.
Consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies
Act, 50 U.S.C. 1622(d), I am continuing for 1 year the national
emergency previously declared on September 14, 2001, in
Proclamation 7463, with respect to the terrorist attacks of
September 11, 2001, and the continuing and immediate threat of
further attacks on the United States.
Because the terrorist threat continues, the national
emergency declared on September 14, 2001, and the powers and
authorities adopted to deal with that emergency must continue in
effect beyond September 14, 2011. Therefore, I am continuing in
effect for an additional year the national emergency that was
declared on September 14, 2001, with respect to the terrorist
Many are unaware that during a national state of emergency, some civil rights are curtailed.
The United States has been in a state of national emergency continuously since September 14, 2001, when the Bush administration invoked it premised on the September 11 attacks. In September 2010, President Barack Obama informed Congress that the State of National Emergency in effect since September 14, 2001, will be extended another year. The National Emergencies Act grants various powers to the president during times of emergency, and was intended to prevent a president from declaring a state of emergency of indefinite duration.
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.
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