This article takes up the question of whether emergencies are altogether extraordinary events that occur in unforeseeable circumstances or whether they are more ordinary dynamics, which also characterize times of normal politics. In facing this issue, the article sets forth an alternative reading of Schmitt's conception of the state of exception, interpreted in the light of his work of the 1930s. Based on this analysis, the exception is portrayed not as the foundational moment of a political community, but as a disruptive threat to the material core of the constitutional order on which the community is founded. Accordingly, emergencies are depicted as legal devices designed to handle the emergence of potentially unsettling societal phenomena. The article concludes by commenting on a 2008 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights that foregrounds how the fine line between normality and exception is safeguarded through legal means.