A Guide to Emergency Powers and Their Use

Lesson Duration

What statutory powers may become available to the U.S. president upon declaration of a national emergency?

The Brennan Center’s research is presented in two tables:
One lists several important laws that establish general frameworks for different kinds of emergencies (including national emergencies, major disasters, public health emergencies, etc.).
The other sets forth statutory provisions available during national emergencies; it displays these powers by subject matter, specifies the conditions triggering their use, and lists the occasions on which they have been invoked. This table is sortable/searchable by level of restriction on the president’s powers, U.S. code title, and keyword.
Also included is a running list of presidential emergency declarations under the National Emergencies Act of 1976.



The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonpartisan law and policy institute.