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Clinton v. New York, 524 U.S. 417 (1998) p.33Supp


separation of powers: constitutionality of line item veto


Clinton used his power under the Line Item Veto to remove some parts of a bill. City, health care providers, and unions, and farmers' cooperative and individual member, commenced separate actions challenging constitutionality of Line Item Veto Act after President exercised his authority under Act to cancel provisions of Balanced Budget Act and Taxpayer Relief Act.


The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Thomas F. Hogan, J., 985 F.Supp. 168, entered order holding that Line Item Veto Act was unconstitutional.


Whether the line item veto is unconstitutional.


The Line Item Veto is unconstitutional.


On expedited appeal, the Supreme Court, Justice Stevens, held that Line Item Veto Act violated Presentment Clause by departing from "finely wrought" constitutional procedure for enactment of law. Affirmed.


Three types of things the LIV can be used for: 1. an dollar amount of discretionary budget authority; 2. any item of new direct spending; 3. any limited tax benefit. The Act does not grant the President the authority to cancel a disapproval bill, but he does, of course, retain his constitutional authority to veto such a bill. Challenge to constitutionality of Line Item Veto Act presented justiciable controversy once President actually exercised line item veto, so long as challengers sustained actual injury as a result. President's exercise of power under Line Item Veto Act to cancel item of new direct spending and item of limited tax benefit violated Presentment Clause by departing from "finely wrought" constitutional procedure for enactment of law, to extent President's action had both legal and practical effect of amending acts of Congress by repealing portions thereof, and did not come within his constitutional veto power. U.S.C.A. Const. Art. 1, 7, cl. 2


KENNEDY dissent: failure of political will does not justify unconstitutional remedies. SCALIA dissent: a mere technicality; COngress passes laws anyhow that gives President discretion on spending. This is very comparable to that. The title of the act has succeeded in "faking out the supreme court."

Created on: Wednesday, October 06, 1999 at 16:19:36 (PDT)

Copyright © Thompson Resources, 1999, all rights reserved.