Clinton v. City of N.Y.

524 U.S. 417, 118 S. Ct. 2091 (1998)



The Line Item Veto Act (Act), 2 U.S.C.S. § 692, which authorizes expedited review, evidences an unmistakable congressional interest in a prompt and authoritative judicial determination of the constitutionality of the Act. Subsection 692(a)(2) requires that copies of any complaint filed under subsection 692(a)(1) "shall be promptly delivered" to both Houses of Congress, and that each House shall have a right to intervene. Subsection 692(b) authorizes a direct appeal to the Court from any order of the district court, and requires that the appeal be filed within 10 days. Subsection 692(c) imposes a duty on both the district court and the Court to advance on the docket and to expedite to the greatest possible extent the disposition of any matter brought under § 692(a). There is no plausible reason why Congress would have intended to provide for such special treatment of actions filed by natural persons and to have precluded entirely jurisdiction over comparable cases brought by corporate persons.


Appellees challenged the constitutionality of the Line Item Veto Act (Act), 2 U.S.C.S. § 691 et seq., after appellant, the United States President exercised his authority under the Act to cancel one provision in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Pub. L. 105-33, 111 Stat. 251,515, and two provisions of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, Pub. L. 105-34, 111 Stat. 788, 895-896, 990-993. The Act contains an expedited-review provision which authorized any individual adversely affected by it to bring a declaratory judgment action alleging that any provision of the Line Item Veto Act violated the Federal Constitution.


Does the cancellation procedure set forth in the Act violate the Presentment Clause of the Constitution?




On review, the United States Supreme Court affirmed that the cancellation procedures set forth in the Act violated the Presentment Clause of the Constitution, U.S. Const. art. I, § 7, cl. 2. The Court held that constitutional silence on the subject of unilateral Presidential action that either repeals or amends parts of duly enacted statutes is equivalent to an express prohibition. Thus, cancellations pursuant to the Act had no legal force or effect and failed to satisfy the procedures set out in Article I, § 7.

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