13 ELR 20663 | Environmental Law Reporter | copyright © 1983 | All rights reserved

Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha

Nos. 80-1832; -2170; -2171 (U.S. June 23, 1983)

ELR Digest

The Supreme Court holds that the legislative veto provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, § 244(c)(2), is unconstitutional, thereby invalidating similar legislative veto clauses in other federal statutes. First, the Court dismisses jurisdictional challenges based on lack of standing and nonjusticiability. Then the Court holds that § 244(c)(2) violates the requirements of the Constitution found in art. I, § 1 and § 7, cl. 2, which vest all legislative powers in a bicameral Congress, and art. I, § 7, cls. 2 and 3, which direct Congress to present all bills, orders, and resolutions approved by both houses to the President. The Court rules that the House of Representatives took a legislative action, which required compliance with the Bicameral and Presentment Clauses, when it vetoed the Attorney General's suspension of the deportation of petitioner. The Court further holds that four exceptions to the bicameral requirement found in the Constitution are narrow, explicit, and separately justified, and do not support a finding of implied legislative veto power.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Powell argues that the majority opinion unnecessarily affects hundreds of statutes containing legislative veto provisions, because the decision could be founded on narrower grounds. In his view, the House violated the separation of powers doctrine in this instance because it assumed a judicial role. Rather than passing a general rule, the House determined that six specific persons did not meet the statutory criteria for suspension of deportation.

In dissent, Justice White stresses the usefulness of the legislative veto in resolving executive and congressional branch constitutional and policy differences. He argues that the veto provisions contained in federal statutes have been duly enacted by both houses and presented to the President; and because the veto does not enact new law but only negatives administrative action, it should not require more rigid authorization than the original delegation. Furthermore, the Constitution permits Congress to delegate legislative power. Thus, the bicameral and presentment requirements do not apply to all legislative actions and a legislative veto can be essential in keeping the exercise of delegated power within the bounds Congress intended.

In dissent, Justice Rehnquist with whom Justice White joins, would rule that § 244(c)(2) is not severable from the rest of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

[In an appendix to his dissent, Justice White lists the following environmental statutes that contain legislative veto clauses: Act of August 29, 1980, 16 U.S.C. § 1432 (marine sanctuary designation by Secretary of Commerce); Act of December 17, 1980, 7 U.S.C. § 136w (EPA rules and regulations under FIFRA); Coastal Zone Management Improvement Act of 1980, 16 U.S.C. § 1463a; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. § 9655; Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, 43 U.S.C. §§ 1713(c), 1714; National Historic Preservation Act Amendments of 1980, 16 U.S.C. § 470w-6; Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act Amendments of 1978, 43 U.S.C. §§ 1337(a), 1354(c) — Ed.]

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (105 pp. $13.75, ELR Order No. C-1310).

Counsel for Petitioners
Eugene Gressman
U. of N. Carolina School of Law, Chapel Hill NC 27514
(919) 962-5106

Michael Davidson, Senate Legal Counsel; M. Elizabeth Culbreth, Charles Tiefer, Paula A. Sweeney
Hart Senate Office Bldg., Rm. SH642, Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4435

Alan B. Morrison
Public Citizen Litigation Group
2000 P St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 785-3704

Counsel for Respondents
Rex E. Lee, Solicitor General; Kenneth S. Geller, Edwin S. Kneedler, David A. Strauss
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2201

Theodore B. Olson, Ass't Attorney General; Larry L. Simms, Thomas O Sargentich, Beth Nolan, Michael A. Fitts
Office of Legal Counsel
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2041

Burger, C.J.


13 ELR 20663 | Environmental Law Reporter | copyright © 1983 | All rights reserved