Trump can’t declare national emergency to build border wall: Judge Napolitano

President Trump is looking for ways to get his wall on the southern border built, but Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said he does not have the authority to declare a national emergency and use the resources to build the wall.

“The Supreme Court has made it very clear – even in times of emergency – the president of the United States of America cannot spend money unless it’s been authorized by the Congress,” Napolitano told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Monday.

Trump said on Sunday that he may declare a national state of emergency to secure funding for his border wall, which Congress has rejected. Trump first proposed the idea during a press conference on Friday.

"I may declare a national emergency dependent on what's going to happen over the next few days," Trump told reporters before leaving the White House for Camp David.

In 1950, President Harry Truman proclaimed a state of emergency during the Korean War to nationalize the steel industry, but the Supreme Court struck it down.

“When there was a steel strike during the Korean War he asked the Congress to seize the steel mills and operate them against the striker’s wishes and produce steel for our troops who desperately needed [it] in the Korean War,” said Napolitano. “The Supreme Court said no, you can’t do that. Congress can do it. Congress can pay for the steel mills and operate them but the president can’t do it on his own.”


Trump has demanded more than $5 billion in wall funding, but neither the president nor House Democrats, who now hold the majority, have been able to strike a bipartisan deal.

But in Napolitano’s opinion, Trump is using this as a bargaining chip.

“I think the president knows that we need comprehensive immigration and border security reform,” he said. “And the time to do that is not when there is a gun to somebody’s head … but in a patient atmosphere of a debate – a great national debate about how we want to treat those who want to come here.”