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A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale for suspending rights and freedoms, even if guaranteed under the constitution.
In the case of the United States, the country has been under the state of emergency since September 15, 2001, and full executive and legislative powers had been granted to the President after the suspension of Senate and the House of Representatives. The Supreme Court however, is uneffected in their activity, though the President is known to have a firm control on the Supreme Court.