Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court.
The District Court for the District of Columbia declared the Line Item Veto Act unconstitutional. On this direct appeal, we hold that appellees lack standing to bring this suit,
The appellees are six Members of Congress, four of whom served as Senators and two of whom served as Congressmen in the 104th Congress (1995-1996).
The provisions of the Act do not use the term "veto." Instead, the President is given the authority to "cancel" certain spending and tax benefit measures after he has signed them into law. Specifically, the Act provides:
The President's "cancellation" under the Act takes effect when the "special message" notifying Congress of the cancellation is received in the House and Senate. With respect to dollar amounts of "discretionary budget authority," a cancellation means "to rescind." § 691e(4)(A). With respect to "new direct spending" items or "limited tax benefit[s]," a cancellation means that the relevant legal provision, legal obligation, or budget authority is "prevent[ed] . . . from having legal force or effect." §§ 691e(4)(B), (C).
The Act establishes expedited procedures in both Houses for the consideration of "disapproval bills," § 691d, bills or joint resolutions which, if enacted into law by the familiar procedures set out in Article I, § 7, of the Constitution, would render the President's cancellation "null and void," § 691b(a). "Disapproval bills" may only be one sentence long and must read as follows after the enacting clause: "That Congress disapproves of cancellations as transmitted by the President in a special message on regarding ." § 691e(6)(C). (The blank spaces correspond to the cancellation reference numbers as set out in the special message, the date of the President's special message, and the public law number to which the special message relates, respectively. Ibid. )
The Act provides that "[a]ny Member of Congress or any individual adversely affected by [this Act] may bring an action, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief on
Appellants moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, claiming (among other things) that appellees lacked standing to sue and that their claim was not ripe. Both sides also filed motions for summary judgment on the merits. On April 10, 1997, the District Court (i) denied appellants' motion to dismiss, holding that appellees had standing to bring this suit and that their claim was ripe, and (ii) granted appellees' summary judgment motion, holding that the Act is unconstitutional. 956 F.Supp. 25. As to standing, the court noted that the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia "has repeatedly recognized Members' standing to challenge measures that affect their constitutionally prescribed lawmaking powers." Id., at 30 (citing, e. g., Michel v. Anderson, 14 F.3d 623, 625 (CADC 1994); Moore v. U. S. House of Representatives, 733 F.2d 946, 950-952 (CADC 1984)). See also 956
The court held that appellees' claim was ripe even though the President had not yet used the "cancellation" authority granted him under the Act: "Because [appellees] now find themselves in a position of unanticipated and unwelcome subservience to the President before and after they vote on appropriations bills, Article III is satisfied, and this Court may accede to Congress' directive to address the constitutional cloud over the Act as swiftly as possible." Id., at 32 (referring to § 692(a)(1), the section of the Act granting Members of Congress the right to challenge the Act's constitutionality in court). On the merits, the court held that the Act violated the Presentment Clause, Art. I, § 7, cl. 2, and constituted an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the President. 956 F. Supp., at 33, 35, 37-38.
The Act provides for a direct, expedited appeal to this Court. § 692(b) (direct appeal to Supreme Court); § 692(c) ("It shall be the duty of . . . the Supreme Court of the United States to advance on the docket and to expedite to the greatest possible extent the disposition of any [suit challenging the Act's constitutionality] brought under [§ 3(a) of the Act]"). On April 18, eight days after the District Court issued its order, appellants filed a jurisdictional statement asking us to note probable jurisdiction, and on April 21, appellees filed a
Under Article III, § 2, of the Constitution, the federal courts have jurisdiction over this dispute between appellants and appellees only if it is a "case" or "controversy." This is a "bedrock requirement." Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471 (1982). As we said in Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights Organization, 426 U.S. 26, 37 (1976): "No principle is more fundamental to the judiciary's proper role in our system of government than the constitutional limitation of federal-court jurisdiction to actual cases or controversies."
One element of the case-or-controversy requirement is that appellees, based on their complaint, must establish that they have standing to sue. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992) (plaintiff bears burden of establishing standing). The standing inquiry focuses on whether the plaintiff is the proper party to bring this suit, Simon, supra, at 38, although that inquiry "often turns on the nature and source of the claim asserted," Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 500 (1975). To meet the standing requirements of Article III, "[a] plaintiff must allege personal injury fairly traceable to the defendant's allegedly unlawful conduct and likely to be redressed by the requested relief." Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737,
We have also stressed that the alleged injury must be legally and judicially cognizable. This requires, among other things, that the plaintiff have suffered "an invasion of a legally protected interest which is . . . concrete and particularized," Lujan, supra, at 560, and that the dispute is "traditionally thought to be capable of resolution through the judicial process," Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 97 (1968). See also Allen, 468 U. S., at 752 ("Is the injury too abstract, or otherwise not appropriate, to be considered judicially cognizable?").
We have always insisted on strict compliance with this jurisdictional standing requirement. See, e. g., ibid. (under Article III, "federal courts may exercise power only `in the last resort, and as a necessity' ") (quoting Chicago & Grand Trunk R. Co. v. Wellman, 143 U.S. 339, 345 (1892)); Muskrat v. United States, 219 U.S. 346, 356 (1911) ("[F]rom its earliest history this [C]ourt has consistently declined to exercise any powers other than those which are strictly judicial in their nature"). And our standing inquiry has been especially rigorous when reaching the merits of the dispute would force us to decide whether an action taken by one
We have never had occasion to rule on the question of legislative standing presented here.
The one case in which we have upheld standing for legislators (albeit state legislators) claiming an institutional injury is Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (1939). Appellees, relying heavily on this case, claim that they, like the state legislators in Coleman, "have a plain, direct and adequate interest
This Court affirmed. By a vote of 5-4, we held that the members of the legislature had standing.
It is obvious, then, that our holding in Coleman stands (at most, see n. 8, infra ) for the proposition that legislators whose votes would have been sufficient to defeat (or enact) a specific legislative Act have standing to sue if that legislative action goes into effect (or does not go into effect), on the ground that their votes have been completely nullified.
Even taking appellees at their word about the change in the "meaning" and "effectiveness" of their vote for appropriations bills which are subject to the Act, we think their argument pulls Coleman too far from its moorings. Appellees'
Not only do appellees lack support from precedent, but historical practice appears to cut against them as well. It is evident from several episodes in our history that in analogous confrontations between one or both Houses of Congress and the Executive Branch, no suit was brought on the basis of claimed injury to official authority or power. The Tenure of Office Act, passed by Congress over the veto of President Andrew Johnson in 1867, was a thorn in the side of succeeding Presidents until it was finally repealed at the behest of President Grover Cleveland in 1887. See generally W. Rehnquist, Grand Inquests: The Historic Impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson 210— 235, 260-268 (1992). It provided that an official whose appointment to an Executive Branch office required confirmation by the Senate could not be removed without the consent of the Senate. 14 Stat. 430, ch. 154. In 1868, Johnson removed his Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton. Within a week, the House of Representatives impeached Johnson. 1 Trial of Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, Before the Senate of the United States on Impeachment by the House of Representatives for High Crimes and Misdemeanors 4 (1868). One of the principal charges against him was that his removal of Stanton violated the Tenure of Office Act. Id., at 6-8. At the conclusion of his trial before the Senate, Johnson was acquitted by one vote. 2 id., at 487, 496-498. Surely Johnson had a stronger claim of diminution of his official power as a result of the Tenure of Office Act than do the appellees in the present case. Indeed, if their
Succeeding Presidents—Ulysses S. Grant and Grover Cleveland—urged Congress to repeal the Tenure of Office Act, and Cleveland's plea was finally heeded in 1887. 24 Stat. 500, ch. 353. It occurred to neither of these Presidents that they might challenge the Act in an Article III court. Eventually, in a suit brought by a plaintiff with traditional Article III standing, this Court did have the opportunity to pass on the constitutionality of the provision contained in the Tenure of Office Act. A sort of mini-Tenure of Office Act covering only the Post Office Department had been enacted in 1872, 17 Stat. 284, ch. 335, § 2, and it remained on the books after the Tenure of Office Act's repeal in 1887. In the last days of the Woodrow Wilson administration, Albert Burleson, Wilson's Postmaster General, came to believe that Frank Myers, the Postmaster in Portland, Oregon, had committed fraud in the course of his official duties. When Myers refused to resign, Burleson, acting at the direction of the President, removed him. Myers sued in the Court of Claims to recover lost salary. In Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926), more than half a century after Johnson's impeachment, this Court held that Congress could not require senatorial consent to the removal of a Postmaster who had been appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate. Id., at 106-107, 173, 176. In the course of its opinion, the Court expressed the view that the original Tenure of Office Act was unconstitutional. Id., at 176. See also id.,
If the appellees in the present case have standing, presumably President Wilson, or Presidents Grant and Cleveland before him, would likewise have had standing, and could have challenged the law preventing the removal of a Presidential appointee without the consent of Congress. Similarly, in INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983), the Attorney General would have had standing to challenge the one-House veto provision because it rendered his authority provisional rather than final. By parity of reasoning, President Gerald Ford could have sued to challenge the appointment provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act which were struck down in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) (per curiam), and a Member of Congress could have challenged the validity of President Coolidge's pocket veto that was sustained in The Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 655 (1929).
There would be nothing irrational about a system that granted standing in these cases; some European constitutional courts operate under one or another variant of such a regime. See, e. g., Favoreu, Constitutional Review in Europe, in Constitutionalism and Rights 38, 41 (L. Henkin & A. Rosenthal eds. 1990); Wright Sheive, Central and Eastern European Constitutional Courts and the Antimajoritarian Objection to Judicial Review, 26 Law & Pol'y Int'l Bus. 1201, 1209 (1995); A. Stone, The Birth of Judicial Politics in France 232 (1992); D. Kommers, Judicial Politics in West Germany: A Study of the Federal Constitutional Court 106 (1976). But it is obviously not the regime that has obtained under our Constitution to date. Our regime contemplates a more restricted role for Article III courts, well expressed by Justice Powell in his concurring opinion in United States v. Richardson, 418 U.S. 166 (1974):
In sum, appellees have alleged no injury to themselves as individuals (contra, Powell ), the institutional injury they allege is wholly abstract and widely dispersed (contra, Coleman ), and their attempt to litigate this dispute at this time and in this form is contrary to historical experience. We attach some importance to the fact that appellees have not been authorized to represent their respective Houses of Congress in this action, and indeed both Houses actively oppose their suit.
We therefore hold that these individual members of Congress do not have a sufficient "personal stake" in this dispute and have not alleged a sufficiently concrete injury to have established Article III standing.
It is so ordered.
Justice Souter, with whom Justice Ginsburg joins, concurring in the judgment.
Appellees claim that the Line Item Veto Act, Pub. L. 104— 130, 110 Stat. 1200, codified at 2 U. S. C. § 691 et seq. (1994 ed., Supp. II), is unconstitutional because it grants the President power, which Article I vests in Congress, to repeal a provision of federal law. As Justice Stevens points out, appellees essentially claim that, by granting the President power to repeal statutes, the Act injures them by depriving them of their official role in voting on the provisions that become law. See post, at 836-837. Under our precedents, it is fairly debatable whether this injury is sufficiently "personal" and "concrete" to satisfy the requirements of Article III.
There is, first, difficulty in applying the rule that an injury on which standing is predicated be personal, not official. If
Nor is appellees' injury so general that, under our case law, they clearly cannot satisfy the requirement of concreteness. On the one hand, appellees are not simply claiming
Because it is fairly debatable whether appellees' injury is sufficiently personal and concrete to give them standing, it behooves us to resolve the question under more general
While it is true that a suit challenging the constitutionality of this Act brought by a party from outside the Federal Government would also involve the Court in resolving the dispute over the allocation of power between the political branches, it would expose the Judicial Branch to a lesser risk. Deciding a suit to vindicate an interest outside the
The virtue of waiting for a private suit is only confirmed by the certainty that another suit can come to us. The parties agree, and I see no reason to question, that if the President "cancels" a conventional spending or tax provision pursuant to the Act, the putative beneficiaries of that provision will likely suffer a cognizable injury and thereby have standing under Article III. See Brief for Appellants 19-20, and n. 10; Brief for Appellees 32-33. By depriving beneficiaries of the money to which they would otherwise be entitled, a cancellation would produce an injury that is "actual," "personal and individual," and involve harm to a "legally protected interest," Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560, and n. 1 (1992) (internal quotation marks omitted); assuming the canceled provision would not apply equally to the entire public, the injury would be "concrete," id., at 560, 573-574; and it would be "fairly trace[able] to the challenged action of the" executive officials involved in the cancellation, id., at 560 (internal quotation marks omitted), as well as probably "redress[able] by a favorable decision," id., at 561 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). See, e. g.,
I therefore conclude that appellees' alleged injuries are insufficiently personal and concrete to satisfy Article III standing requirements of personal and concrete harm. Since this would be so in any suit under the conditions here, I accordingly find no cognizable injury to appellees.
Justice Stevens, dissenting.
The Line Item Veto Act purports to establish a procedure for the creation of laws that are truncated versions of bills that have been passed by the Congress and presented to the President for signature. If the procedure is valid, it will deny every Senator and every Representative any opportunity to vote for or against the truncated measure that survives the exercise of the President's cancellation authority. Because the opportunity to cast such votes is a right guaranteed by the text of the Constitution, I think it clear that the persons who are deprived of that right by the Act have standing to challenge its constitutionality. Moreover, because the impairment of that constitutional right has an immediate impact on their official powers, in my judgment they need not wait until after the President has exercised his cancellation authority to bring suit. Finally, the same reason
Article I, § 7, of the Constitution provides that every Senator and every Representative has the power to vote on "Every Bill . . . before it become a law" either as a result of its having been signed by the President or as a result of its "Reconsideration" in the light of the President's "Objections."
Assuming for the moment that this procedure is constitutionally permissible, and that the President will from time to time exercise the power to cancel portions of a justenacted law, it follows that the statute deprives every Senator and every Representative of the right to vote for or against measures that may become law. The appellees cast their challenge to the constitutionality of the Act in a slightly different way. Their complaint asserted that the Act "alter[s] the legal and practical effect of all votes they may cast
In my judgment, the deprivation of this right—essential to the legislator's office—constitutes a sufficient injury to provide every Member of Congress with standing to challenge the constitutionality of the statute. If the dilution of an individual voter's power to elect representatives provides that voter with standing—as it surely does, see, e. g., Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 204-208 (1962)—the deprivation of the right possessed by each Senator and Representative to vote for or against the precise text of any bill before it becomes law must also be a sufficient injury to create Article III standing for them.
Moreover, the appellees convincingly explain how the immediate, constant threat of the partial veto power has a palpable effect on their current legislative choices. See Brief for Appellees 23-25, 29-31. Because the Act has this immediate and important impact on the powers of Members of Congress, and on the manner in which they undertake their legislative responsibilities, they need not await an exercise of the President's cancellation authority to institute the litigation that the statute itself authorizes. See 2 U. S. C. § 692(a)(1) (1994 ed., Supp. II).
Given the fact that the authority at stake is granted by the plain and unambiguous text of Article I, it is equally clear to me that the statutory attempt to eliminate it is invalid.
Accordingly, I would affirm the judgment of the District Court.
Justice Breyer, dissenting.
As the majority points out, Congress has enacted a specific statute (signed by the President) granting the plaintiffs authority to bring this case. Ante, at 815-816, citing 2 U. S. C.
I concede that there would be no case or controversy here were the dispute before us not truly adversary, or were it not concrete and focused. But the interests that the parties assert are genuine and opposing, and the parties are therefore truly adverse. Cf. Chicago & Grand Trunk R. Co. v. Wellman, 143 U.S. 339 (1892). Moreover, as Justice Stevens points out, the harm that the plaintiffs suffer (on their view of the law) consists in part of the systematic abandonment of laws for which a majority voted, in part of the creation of other laws in violation of procedural rights which (they say) the Constitution provides them, and in part of the consequent and immediate impediment to their ability to do the job that the Constitution requires them to do. See ante, at 835-837, 838 (dissenting opinion); Complaint ¶ 14; App. 34— 36, 39-40, 42-46, 54-55, 57-59, 62-64. Since federal courts might well adjudicate cases involving comparable harms in other contexts (such as purely private contexts), the harm at issue is sufficiently concrete. Cf., e. g., Bennett v. Spear, 520 U.S. 154, 167-174 (1997); Northeastern Fla. Chapter, Associated Gen. Contractors of America v. Jacksonville, 508 U.S. 656 (1993). See also ante, at 831-832 (Souter, J., concurring in judgment). The harm is focused and the accompanying legal issues are both focused and of the sort that this Court is used to deciding. See, e. g., United States v. Munoz-Flores, 495 U.S. 385, 392-396 (1990). The plaintiffs
Nonetheless, there remains a serious constitutional difficulty due to the fact that this dispute about lawmaking procedures arises between Government officials and is brought by legislators. The critical question is whether or not this dispute, for that reason, is so different in form from those "matters that were the traditional concern of the courts at Westminster" that it falls outside the scope of Article III's judicial power. Ibid. Justice Frankfurter explained this argument in his dissent in Coleman, saying that courts traditionally
Justice Frankfurter dissented because, in his view, the "political" nature of the case, which involved legislators, placed the dispute outside the scope of Article III's "case" or "controversy" requirement. Nonetheless, the Coleman court rejected his argument.
Second, the Constitution does not draw an absolute line between disputes involving a "personal" harm and those involving an "official" harm." Cf. ante, at 818, 821. See ante, at 831, n. 2 (Souter, J., concurring in judgment). Justice Frankfurter himself said that this Court had heard cases involving injuries suffered by state officials in their official capacities. Coleman, supra, at 466 (citing Blodgett v. Silberman, 277 U.S. 1 (1928), and Boynton v. Hutchinson, 291 U.S. 656, cert. dism'd on other grounds, 292 U.S. 601 (1934)). See also, e. g., Will v. Calvert Fire Ins. Co., 437 U.S. 655, 661 (1978) (Federal District Judge appealing mandamus issued against him in respect to a docketkeeping matter); Board of Ed. of Central School Dist. No. 1 v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236, 241, n. 5 (1968) (indicating that school board has standing where members must either violate oath or risk loss of school funds and expulsion from office). Coleman itself involved injuries in the plaintiff legislators' official capacity. And the majority in this case, suggesting that legislators might have standing to complain of rules that "denied" them "their vote . . . in a discriminatory manner," concedes at least the possibility that any constitutional rule distinguishing "official" from "personal" injury is not absolute. Ante, at 824, n. 7. See also ante, at 821.
Third, Justice Frankfurter's views were dissenting views, and the dispute before us, when compared to Coleman, presents a much stronger claim, not a weaker claim, for constitutional justiciability. The lawmakers in Coleman complained of a lawmaking procedure that, at worst, improperly counted
The majority finds a difference in the fact that the validity of the legislators' votes was directly at issue in Coleman.
But since many of the present plaintiffs will likely vote in the majority for at least some appropriations bills that are then subject to Presidential cancellation, I think that—on their view of the law—their votes are threatened with nullification too. Cf. ante, at 823, n. 6, 825.
The majority also suggests various distinctions arising out of the fact that Coleman involved a state legislature, rather than the federal Congress. Ante, at 824-825, n. 8. See also ante, at 832, n. 3 (Souter, J., concurring in judgment). But Justice Frankfurter treated comparable arguments as irrelevant, and the Coleman majority did not disagree. Coleman,
In sum, I do not believe that the Court can find this case nonjusticiable without overruling Coleman. Since it does not do so, I need not decide whether the systematic nature, seriousness, and immediacy of the harm would make this dispute constitutionally justiciable even in Coleman `s absence. Rather, I can and would find this case justiciable on Coleman `s authority. I add that because the majority has decided that this dispute is not now justiciable and has expressed no view on the merits of the appeal, I shall not discuss the merits either, but reserve them for future argument.
Briefs of amicus curiae urging affirmance were filed for the Association of the Bar of the City of New York by David P. Felsher, Louis A. Craco, Jr., and James F. Parver; and for David Schoenbrod et al. by Mr. Schoenbrod, pro se, and Marci A. Hamilton, pro se.
G. William Frick filed a brief for the American Petroleum Institute as amicus curiae.
"Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law." U. S. Const., Art. I, § 7.