NEW YORK—In response to President Trump’s declaration of a state of emergency, PEN America released the statement below:

“The manufactured state of emergency the President has announced today is a familiar ploy of authoritarian governments—to grab power and evade checks and balances based on a crisis of their own making. As Justice Robert H. Jackson noted in his dissent from the notorious 1944 Supreme Court ruling in Korematsu v. United States, permitting the detention of Japanese Americans without trial, each emergency power a president possesses “lies about like a loaded weapon, ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need.” No matter how far President Trump goes in exercising these authorities, his declaration strikes a blow at the heart of the legislative process set forth in Article 1 of the Constitution. We urge members of Congress to act urgently in defense of our democratic system.”   


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager: