Justice Stevens, delivered the opinion of the Court.
The Line Item Veto Act (Act), 110 Stat. 1200, 2 U. S. C. § 691 et seq. (1994 ed., Supp. II), was enacted in April 1996
Less than two months after our decision in that case, the President exercised his authority to cancel one provision in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Pub. L. 105-33, 111 Stat. 251, 515, and two provisions in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, Pub. L. 105-34, 111 Stat. 788, 895-896, 990-993. Appellees, claiming that they had been injured by two of those cancellations, filed these cases in the District Court. That Court again held the statute invalid, 985 F.Supp. 168, 177— 182 (1998), and we again expedited our review, 522 U.S. 1144 (1998). We now hold that these appellees have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the Act and, reaching the merits, we agree that the cancellation procedures set forth in the Act violate the Presentment Clause, Art. I, § 7, cl. 2, of the Constitution.
We begin by reviewing the canceled items that are at issue in these cases.
Title XIX of the Social Security Act, 79 Stat. 343, as amended, authorizes the Federal Government to transfer huge sums of money to the States to help finance medical care for the indigent. See 42 U. S. C. § 1396d(b). In 1991, Congress directed that those federal subsidies be reduced by the amount of certain taxes levied by the States on health care providers.
Because HHS had not taken any action on the waiver requests, New York turned to Congress for relief. On August 5, 1997, Congress enacted a law that resolved the issue in New York's favor. Section 4722(c) of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 identifies the disputed taxes and provides that they "are deemed to be permissible health care related taxes and in compliance with the requirements" of the relevant provisions of the 1991 statute.
A person who realizes a profit from the sale of securities is generally subject to a capital gains tax. Under existing law, however, an ordinary business corporation can acquire a corporation, including a food processing or refining company, in a merger or stock-for-stock transaction in which no gain is recognized to the seller, see 26 U. S. C. §§ 354(a), 368(a); the seller's tax payment, therefore, is deferred. If, however, the purchaser is a farmers' cooperative, the parties cannot structure such a transaction because the stock of the cooperative may be held only by its members, see § 521(b)(2); thus, a seller dealing with a farmers' cooperative cannot obtain the benefits of tax deferral.
On the same date that he canceled the "item of new direct spending" involving New York's health care programs, the President also canceled this limited tax benefit. In his explanation of that action, the President endorsed the objective of encouraging "value-added farming through the purchase by farmers' cooperatives of refiners or processors of agricultural goods,"
Appellees filed two separate actions against the President
Appellee New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (NYCHHC) is responsible for the operation of public health care facilities throughout the City of New York. If HHS ultimately denies the State's waiver requests, New York law will automatically require
Appellee Snake River Potato Growers, Inc. (Snake River) was formed in May 1997 to assist Idaho potato farmers in marketing their crops and stabilizing prices, in part through a strategy of acquiring potato processing facilities that will allow the members of the cooperative to retain revenues otherwise payable to third-party processors. At that time, Congress was considering the amendment to the capital gains tax that was expressly intended to aid farmers' cooperatives in the purchase of processing facilities, and Snake River had concrete plans to take advantage of the amendment if passed. Indeed, appellee Mike Cranney, acting on behalf of Snake River, was engaged in negotiations with the
On the merits, the District Court held that the cancellations did not conform to the constitutionally mandated procedures for the enactment or repeal of laws in two respects. First, the laws that resulted after the cancellations "were different from those consented to by both Houses of Congress." Id., at 178.
As in the prior challenge to the Line Item Veto Act, we initially confront jurisdictional questions. The appellees invoked the jurisdiction of the District Court under the section of the Act entitled "Expedited review." That section, 2 U. S. C. § 692(a)(1) (1994 ed., Supp. II), expressly authorizes "[a]ny Member of Congress or any individual adversely affected" by the Act to bring an action for declaratory judgment or injunctive relief on the ground that any provision of the Act is unconstitutional. Although the Government did not question the applicability of that section in the District Court, it now argues that, with the exception of Mike Cranney, the appellees are not "individuals" within the meaning of § 692(a)(1). Because the argument poses a jurisdictional question (although not one of constitutional magnitude), it is not waived by the failure to raise it in the District Court. The fact that the argument did not previously occur to the able lawyers for the Government does, however, confirm our view that in the context of the entire section Congress undoubtedly intended the word "individual" to be construed as synonymous with the word "person."
The special section authorizing expedited review evidences an unmistakable congressional interest in a prompt and authoritative judicial determination of the constitutionality
We are also unpersuaded by the Government's argument that appellees' challenge to the constitutionality of the Act is nonjusticiable. We agree, of course, that Article III of the Constitution confines the jurisdiction of the federal courts to actual "Cases" and "Controversies," and that "the doctrine of standing serves to identify those disputes which are appropriately resolved through the judicial process." Whit-
In both the New York and the Snake River cases, the Government argues that the appellees are not actually injured because the claims are too speculative and, in any event, the claims are advanced by the wrong parties. We find no merit in the suggestion that New York's injury is merely speculative because HHS has not yet acted on the State's waiver requests. The State now has a multibillion dollar contingent liability that had been eliminated by § 4722(c) of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The District Court correctly concluded that the State, and the appellees, "suffered an immediate, concrete injury the moment that the President used the Line Item Veto to cancel section 4722(c) and deprived them of the benefits of that law." 985 F. Supp., at 174. The self-evident significance of the contingent liability is confirmed by the fact that New York lobbied Congress for this relief, that Congress decided that it warranted statutory attention, and that the President selected for cancellation only this one provision in an Act that occupies 536 pages of the Statutes at Large. His action was comparable to the judgment of an appellate court setting aside a verdict for the defendant and remanding for a new trial of a multibillion
We also reject the Government's argument that New York's claim is advanced by the wrong parties because the claim belongs to the State of New York, and not appellees. Under New York statutes that are already in place, it is clear that both the City of New York
Appellees' injury in this regard is at least as concrete as the injury suffered by the respondents in Bryant v. Yellen, 447 U.S. 352 (1980). In that case, we considered whether a rule that generally limited water deliveries from reclamation projects to 160 acres applied to the much larger tracts of the Imperial Irrigation District in southeastern California; application of that limitation would have given large landowners an incentive to sell excess lands at prices below the prevailing market price for irrigated land. The District Court had held that the 160-acre limitation did not apply, and farmers who had hoped to purchase the excess land sought to appeal. We acknowledged that the farmers had not presented "detailed information about [their] financial resources," and noted that "the prospect of windfall profits could attract a large number of potential purchasers" besides the farmers. Id., at 367, n. 17. Nonetheless, "even though they could not with certainty establish that they would be able to purchase excess lands" if the judgment were reversed, id., at 367, we found standing because it was "likely that excess lands would become available at less than market prices," id., at 368. The Snake River appellees have alleged an injury that is as specific and immediate as that in Yellen. See also Duke Power Co. v. Carolina Environmental Study Group, Inc., 438 U.S. 59, 72-78 (1978).
The Line Item Veto Act gives the President the power to "cancel in whole" three types of provisions that have been signed into law: "(1) any dollar amount of discretionary budget authority; (2) any item of new direct spending; or (3) any limited tax benefit." 2 U. S. C. § 691(a) (1994 ed., Supp. II). It is undisputed that the New York case involves an "item of new direct spending" and that the Snake River case involves a "limited tax benefit" as those terms are defined in the Act. It is also undisputed that each of those provisions had been signed into law pursuant to Article I, § 7, of the Constitution before it was canceled.
The Act requires the President to adhere to precise procedures whenever he exercises his cancellation authority. In identifying items for cancellation he must consider the legislative history, the purposes, and other relevant information about the items. See 2 U. S. C. § 691(b) (1994 ed., Supp. II). He must determine, with respect to each cancellation, that it will "(i) reduce the Federal budget deficit; (ii) not impair any essential Government functions; and (iii) not harm the national interest." § 691(a)(A). Moreover, he must transmit a special message to Congress notifying it of each cancellation within five calendar days (excluding Sundays) after the enactment of the canceled provision. See § 691(a)(B). It is undisputed that the President meticulously followed these procedures in these cases.
A cancellation takes effect upon receipt by Congress of the special message from the President. See § 691b(a). If, however, a "disapproval bill" pertaining to a special message is enacted into law, the cancellations set forth in that message become "null and void." Ibid. The Act sets forth a detailed expedited procedure for the consideration of a "disapproval bill," see § 691d, but no such bill was passed for
The effect of a cancellation is plainly stated in § 691e, which defines the principal terms used in the Act. With respect to both an item of new direct spending and a limited tax benefit, the cancellation prevents the item "from having legal force or effect." §§ 691e(4)(B)—(C).
In both legal and practical effect, the President has amended two Acts of Congress by repealing a portion of each. "[R]epeal of statutes, no less than enactment, must conform with Art. I." INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 954 (1983). There is no provision in the Constitution that authorizes the President to enact, to amend, or to repeal statutes. Both Article I and Article II assign responsibilities to the President that directly relate to the lawmaking process, but neither addresses the issue presented by these cases. The President "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient . . . ." Art. II, § 3. Thus, he may initiate and influence legislative proposals.
There are important differences between the President's "return" of a bill pursuant to Article I, § 7, and the exercise of the President's cancellation authority pursuant to the Line Item Veto Act. The constitutional return takes place before the bill becomes law; the statutory cancellation occurs after the bill becomes law. The constitutional return is of the entire bill; the statutory cancellation is of only a part. Although the Constitution expressly authorizes the President to play a role in the process of enacting statutes, it is silent on the subject of unilateral Presidential action that either repeals or amends parts of duly enacted statutes.
There are powerful reasons for construing constitutional silence on this profoundly important issue as equivalent to an express prohibition. The procedures governing the enactment of statutes set forth in the text of Article I were the product of the great debates and compromises that produced the Constitution itself. Familiar historical materials provide abundant support for the conclusion that the power to enact statutes may only "be exercised in accord with a single, finely wrought and exhaustively considered,
At oral argument, the Government suggested that the cancellations at issue in these cases do not effect a "repeal" of the canceled items because under the special "lock box" provisions of the Act,
The Government advances two related arguments to support its position that despite the unambiguous provisions of the Act, cancellations do not amend or repeal properly enacted statutes in violation of the Presentment Clause. First, relying primarily on Field v. Clark, 143 U.S. 649 (1892), the Government contends that the cancellations were merely exercises of discretionary authority granted to the President by the Balanced Budget Act and the Taxpayer Relief Act read in light of the previously enacted Line Item Veto Act. Second, the Government submits that the substance of the authority to cancel tax and spending items "is, in practical effect, no more and no less than the power to `decline to spend' specified sums of money, or to `decline to implement' specified tax measures." Brief for Appellants 40. Neither argument is persuasive.
In Field v. Clark, the Court upheld the constitutionality of the Tariff Act of 1890. Act of Oct. 1, 1890, 26 Stat. 567. That statute contained a "free list" of almost 300 specific articles that were exempted from import duties "unless otherwise specially provided for in this act." Id., at 602. Section 3 was a special provision that directed the President to suspend that exemption for sugar, molasses, coffee, tea, and hides "whenever, and so often" as he should be satisfied that any country producing and exporting those products imposed duties on the agricultural products of the United States that he deemed to be "reciprocally unequal and unreasonable. . . ." Id., at 612, quoted in Field, 143 U. S., at 680. The section then specified the duties to be imposed on those products during any such suspension. The Court provided this explanation for its conclusion that § 3 had not delegated legislative power to the President:
This passage identifies three critical differences between the power to suspend the exemption from import duties and the power to cancel portions of a duly enacted statute. First, the exercise of the suspension power was contingent upon a condition that did not exist when the Tariff Act was passed: the imposition of "reciprocally unequal and unreasonable" import duties by other countries. In contrast, the exercise of the cancellation power within five days after the enactment of the Balanced Budget and Tax Reform Acts necessarily was based on the same conditions that Congress evaluated when it passed those statutes. Second, under the Tariff Act, when the President determined that the contingency had arisen, he had a duty to suspend; in contrast, while it is true that the President was required by the Act to make three determinations before he canceled a provision, see 2
The Government's reliance upon other tariff and import statutes, discussed in Field, that contain provisions similar to the one challenged in Field is unavailing for the same reasons.
The cited statutes all relate to foreign trade, and this Court has recognized that in the foreign affairs arena, the President has "a degree of discretion and freedom from statutory restriction which would not be admissible were domestic affairs alone involved." United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., 299 U.S. 304, 320 (1936). "Moreover, he, not Congress, has the better opportunity of knowing the conditions which prevail in foreign countries." Ibid.
Neither are we persuaded by the Government's contention that the President's authority to cancel new direct spending and tax benefit items is no greater than his traditional authority to decline to spend appropriated funds. The Government has reviewed in some detail the series of statutes in which Congress has given the Executive broad discretion over the expenditure of appropriated funds. For example, the First Congress appropriated "sum[s] not exceeding" specified amounts to be spent on various Government operations. See, e. g., Act of Sept. 29, 1789, ch. 23, 1 Stat. 95; Act of Mar. 26, 1790, ch. 4, § 1, 1 Stat. 104; Act of Feb. 11, 1791, ch. 6, 1 Stat. 190. In those statutes, as in later years, the President was given wide discretion with respect to both the amounts to be spent and how the money would be allocated among different functions. It is argued that the Line Item Veto Act merely confers comparable discretionary authority over the expenditure of appropriated funds. The critical
Although they are implicit in what we have already written, the profound importance of these cases makes it appropriate to emphasize three points.
First, we express no opinion about the wisdom of the procedures authorized by the Line Item Veto Act. Many members of both major political parties who have served in the Legislative and the Executive Branches have long advocated the enactment of such procedures for the purpose of "ensur[ing] greater fiscal accountability in Washington." H. R. Conf. Rep. 104-491, p. 15 (1996).
Second, although appellees challenge the validity of the Act on alternative grounds, the only issue we address concerns the "finely wrought" procedure commanded by the Constitution. Chadha, 462 U. S., at 951. We have been
Third, our decision rests on the narrow ground that the procedures authorized by the Line Item Veto Act are not authorized by the Constitution. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 is a 500-page document that became "Public Law 105-33" after three procedural steps were taken: (1) a bill containing its exact text was approved by a majority of the Members of the House of Representatives; (2) the Senate approved precisely the same text; and (3) that text was signed into law by the President. The Constitution explicitly requires that each of those three steps be taken before a bill may "become a law." Art. I, § 7. If one paragraph of that text had been omitted at any one of those three stages, Public Law 105-33 would not have been validly enacted. If the Line Item Veto Act were valid, it would authorize the President to create a different law—one whose text was not voted on by either House of Congress or presented to the President for signature. Something that might be known as "Public Law 105-33 as modified by the President" may or
If there is to be a new procedure in which the President will play a different role in determining the final text of what may "become a law," such change must come not by legislation but through the amendment procedures set forth in Article V of the Constitution. Cf. U. S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779, 837 (1995).
The judgment of the District Court is affirmed.
It is so ordered.
Justice Kennedy, concurring.
A Nation cannot plunder its own treasury without putting its Constitution and its survival in peril. The statute before us, then, is of first importance, for it seems undeniable the Act will tend to restrain persistent excessive spending. Nevertheless, for the reasons given by Justice Stevens in the opinion for the Court, the statute must be found invalid. Failure of political will does not justify unconstitutional remedies.
I write to respond to my colleague Justice Breyer, who observes that the statute does not threaten the liberties of individual citizens, a point on which I disagree. See post, at 496-497. The argument is related to his earlier suggestion that our role is lessened here because the two political branches are adjusting their own powers between themselves. Post, at 472, 482-483. To say the political branches have a somewhat free hand to reallocate their own authority would seem to require acceptance of two premises: first, that the public good demands it, and second, that liberty is not at risk. The former premise is inadmissible. The Constitution's structure requires a stability which transcends the convenience of the moment. See Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority v. Citizens for Abatement of Aircraft Noise, Inc., 501 U.S. 252, 276-277 (1991); Bowsher v. Synar,
Separation of powers was designed to implement a fundamental insight: Concentration of power in the hands of a single branch is a threat to liberty. The Federalist states the axiom in these explicit terms: "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands. . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." The Federalist No. 47, p. 301 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961). So convinced were the Framers that liberty of the person inheres in structure that at first they did not consider a Bill of Rights necessary. The Federalist No. 84, pp. 513, 515; G. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic 1776-1787, pp. 536-543 (1969). It was at Madison's insistence that the First Congress enacted the Bill of Rights. R. Goldwin, From Parchment to Power 75-153 (1997). It would be a grave mistake, however, to think a Bill of Rights in Madison's scheme then or in sound constitutional theory now renders separation of powers of lesser importance. See Amar, The Bill of Rights as a Constitution, 100 Yale L. J. 1131, 1132 (1991).
In recent years, perhaps, we have come to think of liberty as defined by that word in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and as illuminated by the other provisions of the Bill of Rights. The conception of liberty embraced by the Framers was not so confined. They used the principles of separation of powers and federalism to secure liberty in the fundamental political sense of the term, quite in addition to the idea of freedom from intrusive governmental acts. The idea and the promise were that when the people delegate some degree of control to a remote central authority, one branch of government ought not possess the power to shape their destiny without a sufficient check from the other two. In this vision, liberty demands limits on the ability of any one
It follows that if a citizen who is taxed has the measure of the tax or the decision to spend determined by the Executive alone, without adequate control by the citizen's Representatives in Congress, liberty is threatened. Money is the instrument of policy and policy affects the lives of citizens. The individual loses liberty in a real sense if that instrument is not subject to traditional constitutional constraints.
The principal object of the statute, it is true, was not to enhance the President's power to reward one group and punish another, to help one set of taxpayers and hurt another, to favor one State and ignore another. Yet these are its undeniable effects. The law establishes a new mechanism which gives the President the sole ability to hurt a group that is a visible target, in order to disfavor the group or to extract further concessions from Congress. The law is the functional equivalent of a line item veto and enhances the President's powers beyond what the Framers would have endorsed.
It is no answer, of course, to say that Congress surrendered its authority by its own hand; nor does it suffice to point out that a new statute, signed by the President or
Separation of powers helps to ensure the ability of each branch to be vigorous in asserting its proper authority. In this respect the device operates on a horizontal axis to secure a proper balance of legislative, executive, and judicial authority. Separation of powers operates on a vertical axis as well, between each branch and the citizens in whose interest powers must be exercised. The citizen has a vital interest in the regularity of the exercise of governmental power. If this point was not clear before Chadha, it should have been so afterwards. Though Chadha involved the deportation of a person, while the case before us involves the expenditure of money or the grant of a tax exemption, this circumstance does not mean that the vertical operation of the separation of powers is irrelevant here. By increasing the power of the President beyond what the Framers envisioned, the statute compromises the political liberty of our citizens, liberty which the separation of powers seeks to secure.
The Constitution is not bereft of controls over improvident spending. Federalism is one safeguard, for political accountability is easier to enforce within the States than nationwide. The other principal mechanism, of course, is control of the political branches by an informed and responsible electorate. Whether or not federalism and control by the electorate are adequate for the problem at hand, they are two of the structures the Framers designed for the problem the statute strives to confront. The Framers of the Constitution
Justice Scalia, with whom Justice O'Connor joins, and with whom Justice Breyer joins as to Part III, concurring in part and dissenting in part.
Today the Court acknowledges the "`overriding and timehonored concern about keeping the Judiciary's power within its proper constitutional sphere.' " Ante, at 421, quoting Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811, 820 (1997). It proceeds, however, to ignore the prescribed statutory limits of our jurisdiction by permitting the expedited-review provisions of the Line Item Veto Act to be invoked by persons who are not "individual[s]," 2 U. S. C. § 692 (1994 ed., Supp. II); and to ignore the constitutional limits of our jurisdiction by permitting one party to challenge the Government's denial to another party of favorable tax treatment from which the first party might, but just as likely might not, gain a concrete benefit. In my view, the Snake River appellees lack standing to challenge the President's cancellation of the "limited tax benefit," and the constitutionality of that action should not be addressed. I think the New York appellees have standing to challenge the President's cancellation of an "item of new direct spending"; I believe we have statutory authority (other than the expedited-review provision) to address that challenge; but unlike the Court I find the President's cancellation of spending items to be entirely in accord with the Constitution.
The Court's unrestrained zeal to reach the merits of this case is evident in its disregard of the statute's expeditedreview
The Court majestically sweeps the plain language of the statute aside, declaring that "[t]here 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." Ante, at 429. Indeed, the Court says, it would be "absurd" for Congress to have done so. Ibid. But Congress treats individuals more favorably than corporations and other associations all the time. There is nothing whatever extraordinary—and surely nothing so
The only individual who has sued, and thus the only appellee who qualifies for expedited review under § 692, is Mike Cranney. Since § 692 does not confer jurisdiction over the claims of the other appellees, we must dismiss them, unless we have jurisdiction under another statute. In their complaints, appellees sought declaratory relief not only under § 692(a), but also under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U. S. C. § 2201, invoking the District Court's jurisdiction under 28 U. S. C. § 1331. After the District Court ruled, the Government appealed directly to this Court, but it also filed a notice of appeal to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In light of the Government's representation that it desires "[t]o eliminate any possibility that the district court's decision might escape review," Reply Brief for Appellants 2, n. 1, I would deem its appeal to this Court a petition for writ of certiorari before judgment, see 28 U. S. C. § 2101(e), and grant it. Under this Court's Rule 11, "[a] petition for a writ of certiorari to review a case pending in a United States court of appeals, before judgment is entered in that court, will be granted only upon a showing that the case is of such imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice and to require immediate determination in this Court." In light of the public importance of the issues involved, and the little sense it would make for the Government to pursue its appeal against one appellee in this Court and against the others in the Court of Appeals, the entire case, in my view, qualifies for certiorari review before judgment.
Not only must we be satisfied that we have statutory jurisdiction to hear this case; we must be satisfied that we have jurisdiction under Article III. "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.' " Raines, 521 U. S., at 818, quoting Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 751 (1984).
In the first action before us, appellees Snake River Potato Growers, Inc. (Snake River) and Mike Cranney, Snake River's Director and Vice-Chairman, challenge the constitutionality of the President's cancellation of § 968 of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. The Snake River appellees have standing, in the Court's view, because § 968 gave them "the equivalent of a statutory `bargaining chip,' " and "[b]y depriving them of their statutory bargaining chip, the cancellation inflicted a sufficient likelihood of economic injury to establish standing under our precedents." Ante, at 432. It is unclear whether the Court means that deprivation of a "bargaining chip" itself suffices for standing, or that such deprivation suffices in the present case because it creates a likelihood of economic injury. The former is wrong as a matter of law, and the latter is wrong as a matter of fact, on the facts alleged.
For the proposition that "a denial of a benefit in the bargaining process" can suffice for standing the Court relies in a footnote, see ante, at 433, n. 22, on Northeastern Fla. Chapter, Associated Gen. Contractors of America v. Jacksonville, 508 U.S. 656 (1993). There, an association of contractors alleged that a city ordinance according racial preferences in the award of city contracts denied its members equal protection of the laws. Id., at 658-659. The association's members had regularly bid on and performed city contracts, and would have bid on designated set-aside contracts but for the ordinance. Id., at 659. We held that the association had
But even if harm to one's bargaining position were a legally cognizable injury, Snake River has not alleged, as it must, facts sufficient to demonstrate that it personally has suffered that injury. See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 502 (1975). In Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights, supra, the plaintiffs at least had applied for the financial benefit which had allegedly
This affidavit would have set forth something of significance if it had said that Phillips had expressed an interest in the transaction "if and only if the Cooperative Tax Act were to pass." But of course it is most unlikely he said that; Idaho Potato Packers (IPP) could get just as much from the sale without the Act as with the Act, so long as the price was right. The affidavit would also have set forth something of significance if it had said that Phillips had expressed an interest in the sale "at a particular price if the Cooperative Tax Act were to pass." But it does not say that either.
Nor has Snake River demonstrated, as the Court finds, that "the cancellation inflicted a sufficient likelihood of economic injury to establish standing under our precedents." Ante, at 432. Presumably the economic injury the Court has in mind is Snake River's loss of a bargain purchase of a processing plant. But there is no evidence, and indeed not even an allegation, that before the President's action such a purchase was likely. The most that Snake River alleges is that the President's action rendered it "more difficult for plaintiffs to purchase qualified processors," App. 12. And even if that abstract "increased difficulty" sufficed for injury in fact (which it does not), the existence of even that is pure speculation. For all that appears, no owner of a processing plant would have been willing to sell to Snake
Twice before have we addressed whether plaintiffs had standing to challenge the Government's tax treatment of a third party, and twice before have we held that the speculative nature of a third party's response to changes in federal tax laws defeats standing. In Simon v. Eastern Ky. Welfare Rights, 426 U.S. 26 (1976), we found it "purely speculative whether the denials of service . . . fairly can be traced to [the IRS's] `encouragement' or instead result from decisions made by the hospitals without regard to the tax implications." Id., at 42-43. We found it "equally speculative whether the desired exercise of the court's remedial powers in this suit would result in the availability to respondents of such services." Id., at 43. In Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737 (1984), we held that parents of black children attending public schools lacked standing to challenge IRS policies concerning tax exemptions for private schools. The parents alleged, inter alia, that "federal tax exemptions to racially discriminatory private schools in their communities impair their ability to have their public schools desegregated." Id., at 752— 753. We concluded that "the injury alleged is not fairly traceable to the Government conduct . . . challenge[d] as unlawful," id., at 757, and that "it is entirely speculative . . . whether withdrawal of a tax exemption from any particular school would lead the school to change its policies," id., at 758. Likewise, here, it is purely speculative whether a tax
The closest case the Court can appeal to as precedent for its finding of standing is Bryant v. Yellen, 447 U.S. 352 (1980). Even on its own terms, Bryant is distinguishable. As that case came to us, it involved a dispute between a class of some 800 landowners in the Imperial Valley, each of whom owned more than 160 acres, and a group of Imperial Valley residents who wished to purchase lands owned by that class. The point at issue was the application to those lands of a statutory provision that forbade delivery of water from a federal reclamation project to irrigable land held by a single owner in excess of 160 acres, and that limited the sale price of any lands so held in excess of 160 acres to a maximum amount, fixed by the Secretary of the Interior, based on fair market value in 1929, before the valley was irrigated by water from the Boulder Canyon Project. Id., at 366-367. That price would of course be "far below [the lands'] current market values." Id. , at 367, n. 17. The Court concluded that the would-be purchasers "had a sufficient stake in the outcome of the controversy to afford them standing." Id., at 368. It is true, as the Court today emphasizes, that the purchasers had not presented "detailed information about [their] financial resources," but the Court thought that unnecessary only because "purchasers of such land would stand to reap significant gains on resale." Id. , at 367, n. 17. Financing, in other words, would be easy to come by. Here, by contrast, not only do we have no notion whether Snake River has the cash in hand to afford IPP's bottom-line price, but we also have no reason to believe that financing of the purchase will be readily available. Potato processing plants, unlike agricultural land in the Imperial Valley, do not have a readily available resale market. On the other side of the equation, it was also much clearer in Bryant that if the suit came out in the would-be purchasers' favor, many of the landowners would be willing to sell. The alternative would be
More fundamentally, however, the reasoning of Bryant should not govern the present case because it represents a crabbed view of the standing doctrine that has been superseded. Bryant was decided at the tail-end of "an era in which it was thought that the only function of the constitutional requirement of standing was `to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues,' " Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 11 (1998), quoting Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 204 (1962). Thus, the Bryant Court ultimately afforded the respondents standing simply because they "had a sufficient stake in the outcome of the controversy," 447 U. S., at 368, not because they had demonstrated injury in fact, causation, and redressability. "That parsimonious view of the function of Article III standing has since yielded to the acknowledgment that the constitutional requirement is a `means of "defin[ing] the role assigned to the judiciary in a tripartite allocation of power,"` and `a part of the basic charter . . . provid[ing] for the interaction between [the federal] government and the governments of the several States,' " Spencer, supra, at 11-12, quoting Valley Forge
Because, in my view, Snake River has no standing to bring this suit, we have no jurisdiction to resolve its challenge to the President's authority to cancel a "limited tax benefit."
I agree with the Court that the New York appellees have standing to challenge the President's cancellation of § 4722(c) of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 as an "item of new direct spending." See ante, at 430-431. The tax liability they will incur under New York law is a concrete and particularized injury, fairly traceable to the President's action, and avoided if that action is undone. Unlike the Court, however, I do not believe that Executive cancellation of this item of direct spending violates the Presentment Clause.
The Presentment Clause requires, in relevant part, that "[e]very 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." U. S. Const., Art. I, § 7, cl. 2. There is no question that enactment of the Balanced Budget Act complied with these requirements: the House and Senate passed the bill, and the President signed it into law. It was only after the requirements of the Presentment Clause had been satisfied that the President exercised his authority under the Line Item Veto Act to cancel the spending item. Thus, the Court's problem with the Act is not that it authorizes the President to veto parts of a bill and sign others into law, but rather that it authorizes
Article I, § 7, of the Constitution obviously prevents the President from canceling a law that Congress has not authorized him to cancel. Such action cannot possibly be considered part of his execution of the law, and if it is legislative action, as the Court observes, "`repeal of statutes, no less than enactment, must conform with Art. I.' " Ante, at 438, quoting from INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 954 (1983). But that is not this case. It was certainly arguable, as an original matter, that Art. I, § 7, also prevents the President from canceling a law which itself authorizes the President to cancel it. But as the Court acknowledges, that argument has long since been made and rejected. In 1809, Congress passed a law authorizing the President to cancel trade restrictions against Great Britain and France if either revoked edicts directed at the United States. Act of Mar. 1, 1809, § 11, 2 Stat. 528. Joseph Story regarded the conferral of that authority as entirely unremarkable in The Orono, 18 F. Cas. 830 (No. 10,585) (CCD Mass. 1812). The Tariff Act of 1890 authorized the President to "suspend, by proclamation to that effect" certain of its provisions if he determined that other countries were imposing "reciprocally unequal and unreasonable" duties. Act of Oct. 1, 1890, § 3, 26 Stat. 612. This Court upheld the constitutionality of that Act in Field v. Clark, 143 U.S. 649 (1892), reciting the history since 1798 of statutes conferring upon the President the power to, inter alia, "discontinue the prohibitions and restraints hereby enacted and declared," id., at 684, "suspend the operation of the aforesaid act," id., at 685, and "declare the provisions of this act to be inoperative," id., at 688.
As much as the Court goes on about Art. I, § 7, therefore, that provision does not demand the result the Court reaches. It no more categorically prohibits the Executive reduction of congressional dispositions in the course of implementing statutes that authorize such reduction, than it categorically
It is this doctrine, and not the Presentment Clause, that was discussed in the Field opinion, and it is this doctrine, and not the Presentment Clause, that is the issue presented by the statute before us here. That is why the Court is correct to distinguish prior authorizations of Executive cancellation, such as the one involved in Field, on the ground that they were contingent upon an Executive finding of fact, and on the ground that they related to the field of foreign affairs, an area where the President has a special "`degree of discretion and freedom,' " ante, at 445 (citation omitted). These distinctions have nothing to do with whether the details of Art. I, § 7, have been complied with, but everything to do with whether the authorizations went too far by transferring to the Executive a degree of political, lawmaking power that our traditions demand be retained by the Legislative Branch.
I turn, then, to the crux of the matter: whether Congress's authorizing the President to cancel an item of spending gives him a power that our history and traditions show must reside exclusively in the Legislative Branch. I may note, to begin with, that the Line Item Veto Act is not the first statute to authorize the President to "cancel" spending items. In Bowsher v. Synar, 478 U.S. 714 (1986), we addressed the
Insofar as the degree of political, "lawmaking" power conferred upon the Executive is concerned, there is not a dime's worth of difference between Congress's authorizing the President to cancel a spending item, and Congress's authorizing money to be spent on a particular item at the President's discretion. And the latter has been done since the founding of the Nation. From 1789-1791, the First Congress made lump-sum appropriations for the entire Government—"sum[s] not exceeding" specified amounts for broad purposes. Act of Sept. 29, 1789, ch. 23, 1 Stat. 95; Act of Mar. 26, 1790, ch. 4, § 1, 1 Stat. 104; Act of Feb. 11, 1791, ch. 6, 1 Stat. 190. From a very early date Congress also made permissive individual appropriations, leaving the decision whether to spend the money to the President's unfettered discretion. In 1803, it appropriated $50,000 for the President to build "not exceeding fifteen gun boats, to be armed,
Certain Presidents have claimed Executive authority to withhold appropriated funds even absent an express conferral of discretion to do so. In 1876, for example, President Grant reported to Congress that he would not spend money appropriated for certain harbor and river improvements, see Act of Aug. 14, 1876, ch. 267, 19 Stat. 132, because "[u]nder no circumstances [would he] allow expenditures upon works not clearly national," and in his view, the appropriations
The short of the matter is this: Had the Line Item Veto Act authorized the President to "decline to spend" any item
I would hold that the President's cancellation of § 4722(c) of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 as an item of direct spending does not violate the Constitution. Because I find no party before us who has standing to challenge the President's cancellation of § 968 of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, I do not reach the question whether that violates the Constitution.
I agree with the Court that the parties have standing, but I do not agree with its ultimate conclusion. In my view the Line Item Veto Act (Act) does not violate any specific textual constitutional command, nor does it violate any implicit
I approach the constitutional question before us with three general considerations in mind. First, the Act represents a legislative effort to provide the President with the power to give effect to some, but not to all, of the expenditure and revenue-diminishing provisions contained in a single massive appropriations bill. And this objective is constitutionally proper.
When our Nation was founded, Congress could easily have provided the President with this kind of power. In that time period, our population was less than 4 million, see U. S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau, Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, pt. 1, p. 8 (1975), federal employees numbered fewer than 5,000, see id., pt. 2, at 1103, annual federal budget outlays totaled approximately $4 million, see id., pt. 2, at 1104, and the entire operative text of Congress' first general appropriations law read as follows:
Today, however, our population is about 250 million, see U. S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau, 1990 Census, the Federal Government employs more than 4 million people, see Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 1998: Analytical Perspectives 207 (1997) (hereinafter Analytical Perspectives), the annual federal budget is $1.5 trillion, see Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 1998: Budget 303 (1997) (hereinafter Budget), and a typical budget appropriations bill may have a dozen titles, hundreds of sections, and spread across more than 500 pages of the Statutes at Large. See, e. g., Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Pub. L. 105-33, 111 Stat. 251. Congress cannot divide such a bill into thousands, or tens of thousands, of separate appropriations bills, each one of which the President would have to sign, or to veto, separately. Thus, the question is whether the Constitution permits Congress to choose a particular novel means to achieve this same, constitutionally legitimate, end.
Second, the case in part requires us to focus upon the Constitution's generally phrased structural provisions, provisions that delegate all "legislative" power to Congress and vest all "executive" power in the President. See Part IV, infra. The Court, when applying these provisions, has interpreted them generously in terms of the institutional arrangements that they permit. See, e. g., Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361, 412 (1989) (upholding delegation of authority to Sentencing Commission to promulgate Sentencing Guidelines); Crowell v. Benson, 285 U.S. 22, 53-54 (1932) (permitting non-Article III commission to adjudicate factual
Indeed, Chief Justice Marshall, in a well-known passage, explained,
This passage, like the cases I have just mentioned, calls attention to the genius of the Framers' pragmatic vision, which this Court has long recognized in cases that find constitutional room for necessary institutional innovation.
Third, we need not here referee a dispute among the other two branches. And, as the majority points out:
Cf. Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co., supra, at 635 (Jackson, J., concurring) ("Presidential powers are not fixed but fluctuate, depending on their disjunction or conjunction with those of Congress . . . [and when] the President acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress, his authority is at its maximum").
These three background circumstances mean that, when one measures the literal words of the Act against the Constitution's literal commands, the fact that the Act may closely resemble a different, literally unconstitutional, arrangement is beside the point. To drive exactly 65 miles per hour on an interstate highway closely resembles an act that violates the speed limit. But it does not violate that limit, for small differences matter when the question is one of literal violation of law. No more does this Act literally violate the Constitution's words. See Part III, infra.
The background circumstances also mean that we are to interpret nonliteral separation-of-powers principles in light of the need for "workable government." Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co., supra, at 635 (Jackson, J., concurring). If we apply those principles in light of that objective, as this Court has applied them in the past, the Act is constitutional. See Part IV, infra.
The Court believes that the Act violates the literal text of the Constitution. A simple syllogism captures its basic reasoning:
I find this syllogism unconvincing, however, because its Minor Premise is faulty. When the President "canceled" the two appropriation measures now before us, he did not repeal any law nor did he amend any law. He simply followed the law, leaving the statutes, as they are literally written, intact.
To understand why one cannot say, literally speaking, that the President has repealed or amended any law, imagine how the provisions of law before us might have been, but were not, written. Imagine that the canceled New York health care tax provision at issue here, Pub. L. 105-33, § 4722(c), 111 Stat. 515 (quoted in full ante, at 422-423, n. 2), had instead said the following:
Whatever a person might say, or think, about the constitutionality of this imaginary law, there is one thing the English language would prevent one from saying. One could not say that a President who "prevent[s]" the deeming language
It could make no significant difference to this linguistic point were the italicized proviso to appear, not as part of what I have called Section One, but, instead, at the bottom of the statute page, say, referenced by an asterisk, with a statement that it applies to every spending provision in the Act next to which a similar asterisk appears. And that being so, it could make no difference if that proviso appeared, instead, in a different, earlier enacted law, along with legal language that makes it applicable to every future spending provision picked out according to a specified formula. See, e. g., Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act), Pub. L. 99-177, 99 Stat. 1063, 2 U. S. C. § 901 et seq. (enforcing strict spending and deficit-neutrality limits on future appropriations statutes); see also 1 U. S. C. § 1 (in "any Act of Congress" singular words include plural, and vice versa) (emphasis added).
But, of course, this last mentioned possibility is this very case. The earlier law, namely, the Line Item Veto Act, says that "the President may . . . prevent such [future] budget authority from having legal force or effect." 2 U. S. C. §§ 691(a), 691e(4)(B) (1994 ed., Supp. II). Its definitional sections make clear that it applies to the 1997 New York health care provision, see § 691e(8), just as they give a special legal meaning to the word "cancel," § 691e(4). For that reason, one cannot dispose of this case through a purely literal analysis as the majority does. Literally speaking, the President has not "repealed" or "amended" anything. He has simply executed a power conferred upon him by Congress, which power is contained in laws that were enacted in compliance with the exclusive method set forth in the Constitution. See Field v. Clark, 143 U.S. 649, 693 (1892) (President's
Nor can one dismiss this literal compliance as some kind of formal quibble, as if it were somehow "obvious" that what the President has done "amounts to," "comes close to," or is "analogous to" the repeal or amendment of a previously enacted law. That is because the power the Act grants the President (to render designated appropriations items without "legal force or effect") also "amounts to," "comes close to," or is "analogous to" a different legal animal, the delegation of a power to choose one legal path as opposed to another, such as a power to appoint.
To take a simple example, a legal document, say, a will or a trust instrument, might grant a beneficiary the power (a) to appoint property "to Jones for his life, remainder to Smith for 10 years so long as Smith . . . etc., and then to Brown," or (b) to appoint the same property "to Black and the heirs of his body," or (c) not to exercise the power of appointment at all. See, e. g., 5 W. Bowe & D. Parker, Page on Law of Wills § 45.8 (rev. 3d ed. 1962) (describing power of appointment). To choose the second or third of these alternatives prevents from taking effect the legal consequences that flow from the first alternative, which the legal instrument describes in detail. Any such choice, made in the exercise of a delegated power, renders that first alternative language without "legal force or effect." But such a choice does not "repeal" or "amend" either that language or the document itself. The will or trust instrument, in delegating the power of appointment, has not delegated a power to amend or to repeal the instrument; to the contrary, it requires the delegated power to be exercised in accordance with the instrument's terms. Id., § 45.9, pp. 516-518.
The trust example is useful not merely because of its simplicity, but also because it illustrates the logic that must apply when a power to execute is conferred, not by a private trust document, but by a federal statute. This is not the
All of these examples, like the Act, delegate a power to take action that will render statutory provisions "without force or effect." Every one of these examples, like the present Act, delegates the power to choose between alternatives, each of which the statute spells out in some detail. None of these examples delegates a power to "repeal" or "amend" a statute, or to "make" a new law. Nor does the Act. Rather, the delegated power to nullify statutory language was itself created and defined by Congress, and included in the statute books on an equal footing with (indeed, as a component part of) the sections that are potentially subject to nullification. As a Pennsylvania court put the matter more than a century ago: "The legislature cannot delegate its power to make a law; but it can make a law to delegate a power." Locke's Appeal, 72 Pa. 491, 498 (1873).
In fact, a power to appoint property offers a closer analogy to the power delegated here than one might at first suspect. That is because the Act contains a "lockbox" feature, which gives legal significance to the enactment of a particular appropriations item even if, and even after, the President has rendered it without "force or effect." See 2 U. S. C. § 691c (1994 ed., Supp. II); see also ante, at 440-441, n. 31 (describing "lockbox"); but cf. Letter from Counsel for Snake River Cooperative, dated Apr. 29, 1998 (available in Clerk of Court's case file) (arguing "lockbox" feature inapplicable here due to special provision in Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the constitutionality and severability of which have not been argued). In essence, the "lockbox" feature: (1) points to a
These features of the law do not mean that the delegated power is, or is just like, a power to appoint property. But they do mean that it is not, and it is not just like, the repeal or amendment of a law, or, for that matter, a true line item veto (despite the Act's title). Because one cannot say that the President's exercise of the power the Act grants is, literally speaking, a "repeal" or "amendment," the fact that the Act's procedures differ from the Constitution's exclusive procedures
Because I disagree with the Court's holding of literal violation, I must consider whether the Act nonetheless violates separation-of-powers principles—principles that arise out of the Constitution's vesting of the "executive Power" in "a President," U. S. Const., Art. II, § 1, and "[a]ll legislative Powers" in "a Congress," Art. I, § 1. There are three relevant separation-of-powers questions here: (1) Has Congress given the President the wrong kind of power, i. e., "nonExecutive" power? (2) Has Congress given the President the power to "encroach" upon Congress' own constitutionally reserved territory? (3) Has Congress given the President too much power, violating the doctrine of "nondelegation?" These three limitations help assure "adequate control by the citizen's Representatives in Congress," upon which Justice Kennedy properly insists. See ante, at 451 (concurring opinion). And with respect to this Act, the answer to all these questions is "no."
Viewed conceptually, the power the Act conveys is the right kind of power. It is "executive." As explained above, an exercise of that power "executes" the Act. Conceptually speaking, it closely resembles the kind of delegated authority—to spend or not to spend appropriations, to change or not to change tariff rates—that Congress has frequently granted the President, any differences being differences in degree, not kind. See Part IV—C, infra.
The fact that one could also characterize this kind of power as "legislative," say, if Congress itself (by amending the appropriations bill) prevented a provision from taking effect, is beside the point. This Court has frequently found that the
The Court has upheld congressional delegation of rulemaking power and adjudicatory power to federal agencies, American Trucking Assns. v. United States, supra, at 310— 313; Wiener v. United States, supra, at 354-356, guidelinewriting power to a Sentencing Commission, Mistretta v. United States, 488 U. S., at 412, and prosecutor-appointment power to judges, Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654, 696-697 (1988). It is far easier conceptually to reconcile the power at issue here with the relevant constitutional description ("executive") than in many of these cases. And cases in which the Court may have found a delegated power and the basic constitutional function of another branch conceptually irreconcilable are yet more distant. See, e. g., Federal Radio Comm'n v. General Elec. Co., 281 U.S. 464 (1930) (power to award radio licenses not a "judicial" power).
If there is a separation-of-powers violation, then, it must rest, not upon purely conceptual grounds, but upon some important conflict between the Act and a significant separation-of-powers objective.
The Act does not undermine what this Court has often described as the principal function of the separation of powers, which is to maintain the tripartite structure of the Federal Government—and thereby protect individual liberty— by providing a "safeguard against the encroachment or aggrandizement of one branch at the expense of the other." Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 122 (1976) (per curiam); Mistretta v. United States, supra, at 380-382. See The Federalist No. 51, p. 349 (J. Cooke ed. 1961) (J. Madison) (separation of powers confers on each branch the means "to resist encroachments of the others"); 1 Davis, supra, § 1.09, at 68 ("The danger is not blended power[;] [t]he danger is unchecked power"); see also, e. g., Bowsher v. Synar, 478 U.S. 714 (1986) (invalidating congressional intrusion on Executive Branch); Northern Pipeline Constr. Co. v. Marathon Pipe Line Co., 458 U.S. 50 (1982) (Congress may not give away Article III "judicial" power to an Article I judge); Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926) (Congress cannot limit President's power to remove Executive Branch official).
In contrast to these cases, one cannot say that the Act "encroaches" upon Congress' power, when Congress retained the power to insert, by simple majority, into any future appropriations bill, into any section of any such bill, or into any phrase of any section, a provision that says the Act will not apply. See 2 U. S. C. § 691f(c)(1) (1994 ed., Supp. II); Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811, 824 (1997) (Congress can "exempt a given appropriations bill (or a given provision in an appropriations bill) from the Act"). Congress also retained the power to "disapprov[e]," and thereby reinstate, any of the President's cancellations. See 2 U. S. C. § 691b(a). And it is Congress that drafts and enacts the appropriations statutes that are subject to the Act in the first place—and thereby defines the outer limits of the President's cancellation authority. Thus this Act is not the sort of delegation "without . . . sufficient check" that concerns Justice Kennedy.
Nor can one say that the Act's basic substantive objective is constitutionally improper, for the earliest Congresses could, see Part II, supra, and often did, confer on the President this sort of discretionary authority over spending, see ante, at 466-467 (Scalia, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). Cf. J. W. Hampton, 276 U. S., at 412 (Taft, C. J.) ("[C]ontemporaneous legislative exposition of the Constitution when the founders of our Government and the framers of our Constitution were actively participating in public affairs . . . fixes the construction to be given to its provisions"). And, if an individual Member of Congress, who, say, favors aid to Country A but not to Country B, objects to the Act on the ground that the President may "rewrite" an appropriations law to do the opposite, one can respond: "But a majority of Congress voted that he have that power; you may vote to exempt the relevant appropriations provision from the Act; and if you command a majority, your appropriation is safe." Where the burden of overcoming legislative inertia lies is within the power of Congress to determine by rule. Where is the encroachment?
Nor can one say the Act's grant of power "aggrandizes" the Presidential office. The grant is limited to the context of the budget. It is limited to the power to spend, or not to spend, particular appropriated items, and the power to permit, or not to permit, specific limited exemptions from generally applicable tax law from taking effect. These powers, as I will explain in detail, resemble those the President has exercised in the past on other occasions. See Part IV—C, infra. The delegation of those powers to the President may strengthen the Presidency, but any such change in Executive Branch authority seems minute when compared with the changes worked by delegations of other kinds of authority that the Court in the past has upheld. See, e. g., American
The "nondelegation" doctrine represents an added constitutional check upon Congress' authority to delegate power to the Executive Branch. And it raises a more serious constitutional obstacle here. The Constitution permits Congress to "see[k] assistance from another branch" of Government, the "extent and character" of that assistance to be fixed "according to common sense and the inherent necessities of the governmental co-ordination." J. W. Hampton, supra, at 406. But there are limits on the way in which Congress can obtain such assistance; it "cannot delegate any part of its legislative power except under the limitation of a prescribed standard." United States v. Chicago, M., St. P. & P. R. Co., 282 U.S. 311, 324 (1931). Or, in Chief Justice Taft's more familiar words, the Constitution permits only those delegations where Congress "shall lay down by legislative act an intelligible principle to which the person or body authorized to [act] is directed to conform." J. W. Hampton, supra, at 409 (emphasis added).
The Act before us seeks to create such a principle in three ways. The first is procedural. The Act tells the President that, in "identifying dollar amounts [or] . . . items. . . for cancellation" (which I take to refer to his selection of the amounts or items he will "prevent from having legal force or effect"), he is to "consider," among other things,
The second is purposive. The clear purpose behind the Act, confirmed by its legislative history, is to promote "greater fiscal accountability" and to "eliminate wasteful federal spending and . . . special tax breaks." H. R. Conf. Rep. No. 104-491, p. 15 (1996).
The third is substantive. The President must determine that, to "prevent" the item or amount "from having legal force or effect" will "reduce the Federal budget deficit; . . . not impair any essential Government functions; and . . . not harm the national interest." 2 U. S. C. § 691(a)(A) (1994 ed., Supp. II).
The resulting standards are broad. But this Court has upheld standards that are equally broad, or broader. See, e. g., National Broadcasting Co. v. United States, 319 U.S. 190, 225-226 (1943) (upholding delegation to Federal Communications Commission to regulate broadcast licensing as "public interest, convenience, or necessity" require) (internal quotation marks omitted); FPC v. Hope Natural Gas Co., 320 U.S. 591, 600-603 (1944) (upholding delegation to Federal Power Commission to determine "just and reasonable" rates); United States v. Rock Royal Co-operative, Inc., 307 U.S. 533, 577 (1939) (if milk prices were "unreasonable," Secretary of Agriculture could "fi[x]" prices to a level that was "in the public interest"). See also Lichter v. United States, 334 U.S. 742, 785-786 (1948) (delegation of authority to determine "excessive" profits); American Power & Light Co. v. SEC, 329 U.S. 90, 104-105 (1946) (delegation of authority to Securities and Exchange Commission to prevent "unfairly or inequitably" distributing voting power among security holders); Yakus v. United States, 321 U.S. 414, 427 (1944) (upholding delegation to Price Administrator to fix commodity prices that would be "fair" and "equitable").
Indeed, the Court has only twice in its history found that a congressional delegation of power violated the "nondelegation"
The case before us does not involve any such "roving commission," nor does it involve delegation to private parties, nor does it bring all of American industry within its scope. It is limited to one area of Government, the budget, and it seeks to give the President the power, in one portion of that budget, to tailor spending and special tax relief to what he concludes are the demands of fiscal responsibility. Nor is the standard that governs his judgment, though broad, any broader than the standard that currently governs the award of television licenses, namely, "public convenience, interest, or necessity." 47 U. S. C. § 303 (emphasis added). To the contrary, (a) the broadly phrased limitations in the Act, together with (b) its evident deficit reduction purpose, and (c) a procedure that guarantees Presidential awareness of the reasons for including a particular provision in a budget bill, taken together, guide the President's exercise of his discretionary powers.
The relevant similarities and differences among and between this case and other "nondelegation" cases can be listed
Second, like the award of television licenses, the particular problem involved—determining whether or not a particular amount of money should be spent or whether a particular dispensation from tax law should be granted a few individuals—does not readily lend itself to a significantly more specific standard. The Act makes clear that the President should consider the reasons for the expenditure, measure those reasons against the desirability of avoiding a deficit (or building a surplus), and make up his mind about the comparative weight of these conflicting goals. Congress might have expressed this matter in other language, but could it have done so in a significantly more specific way? See National Broadcasting Co. v. United States, supra, at 216 ("[P]ublic interest, convenience, or necessity" standard is
Third, insofar as monetary expenditure (but not "tax expenditure") is at issue, the President acts in an area where history helps to justify the discretionary power that Congress has delegated, and where history may inform his exercise of the Act's delegated authority. Congress has frequently delegated the President the authority to spend, or not to spend, particular sums of money. See, e. g., Act of Sept. 29, 1789, ch. 23, 1 Stat. 95; Act of Mar. 26, 1790, ch. 4, § 1, 1 Stat. 104; Act of Feb. 11, 1791, ch. 6, 1 Stat. 190; Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, 49 Stat. 115 (appropriating over $4 billion to be spent "in the discretion and under the direction of the President" for economic relief measures); see also ante, at 466-467 (Scalia, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part) (listing numerous examples).
Fourth, the Constitution permits Congress to rely upon context and history as providing the necessary standard for the exercise of the delegated power. See, e. g., Federal Radio Comm'n v. Nelson Brothers Bond & Mortgage Co. (Station WIBO), 289 U.S. 266, 285 (1933) ("public interest, convenience, or necessity [standard] . . . is to be interpreted by its context"); Fahey v. Mallonee, 332 U.S. 245, 253 (1947) (otherwise vague delegation to regulate banks was "sufficiently explicit, against the background of custom, to be adequate"). Relying upon context, Congress has sometimes granted the President broad discretionary authority over
On the other hand, I must recognize that there are important differences between the delegation before us and other broad, constitutionally acceptable delegations to Executive Branch agencies—differences that argue against my conclusion. In particular, a broad delegation of authority to an administrative agency differs from the delegation at issue here in that agencies often develop subsidiary rules under the statute, rules that explain the general "public interest" language. Doing so diminishes the risk that the agency will use the breadth of a grant of authority as a cloak for unreasonable or unfair implementation. See 1 K. Davis, Administrative Law § 3:15, pp. 207-208 (2d ed. 1978). Moreover, agencies are typically subject to judicial review, which review provides an additional check against arbitrary implementation. See, e. g., Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Assn. of United
While I believe that these last mentioned considerations are important, they are not determinative. The President, unlike most agency decision makers, is an elected official. He is responsible to the voters, who, in principle, will judge the manner in which he exercises his delegated authority. Whether the President's expenditure decisions, for example, are arbitrary is a matter that in the past has been left primarily to those voters to consider. And this Court has made clear that judicial review is less appropriate when the President's own discretion, rather than that of an agency, is at stake. See Dalton v. Specter, 511 U.S. 462, 476 (1994) (Presidential decision on military base closure recommendations not reviewable; President could "approv[e] or disapprov[e] the recommendations for whatever reason he sees fit"); Franklin, 505 U. S., at 801 (President's decision whether or not to transmit census report to Congress was unreviewable by courts for abuse of discretion); cf. id., at 799-800 (it was "important to the integrity of the process" that the decision was made by the President, a "constitutional officer" as opposed to the unelected Secretary of Commerce). These matters reflect in part the Constitution's own delegation of "executive Power" to "a President," Art. II, § 1; cf. Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 710-711 (1997) (Breyer, J., concurring in judgment) (discussing unitary Executive), and we must take this into account when applying the Constitution's nondelegation doctrine to questions of Presidential authority.
Consequently I believe that the power the Act grants the President to prevent spending items from taking effect does not violate the "nondelegation" doctrine.
Most, but not all, of the considerations mentioned in the previous subsection apply to the Act's delegation to the President of the authority to prevent "from having legal force or effect" a "limited tax benefit," which term the Act defines in terms of special tax relief for fewer than 100 (or in some instances 10) beneficiaries, which tax relief is not available to others who are somewhat similarly situated. 2 U. S. C. § 691e(9) (1994 ed., Supp. II). There are, however, two related significant differences between the "limited tax benefit" and the spending items considered above, which make the "limited tax benefit" question more difficult. First, the history is different. The history of Presidential authority to pick and to choose is less voluminous. Second, the subject matter (increasing or decreasing an individual's taxes) makes the considerations discussed at the end of the last section (i. e., the danger of an arbitrary exercise of delegated power) of greater concern. But these differences, in my view, are not sufficient to change the "nondelegation" result.
For one thing, this Court has made clear that the standard we must use to judge whether a law violates the "nondelegation" doctrine is the same in the tax area as in any other. In Skinner v. Mid-America Pipeline Co., 490 U.S. 212 (1989), the Court considered whether Congress, in the exercise of its taxing power, could delegate to the Secretary of Transportation the authority to establish a system of pipeline user fees. In rejecting the argument that the "fees" were actually a "tax," and that the law amounted to an unconstitutional delegation of Congress' own power to tax, the unanimous Court said that:
. . . . .
For another thing, this Court has upheld tax statutes that delegate to the President the power to change taxes under very broad standards. In 1890, for example, Congress authorized the President to "suspend" the provisions of the tariff statute, thereby raising tariff rates, if the President determined that other nations were imposing "reciprocally unequal and unreasonable" tariff rates on specialized commodities. Act of Oct. 1, 1890, ch. 1244, § 3, 26 Stat. 612. And the Court upheld the statute against constitutional attack. Field v. Clark, 143 U. S., at 693-694 ("[N]o valid objection can be made" to such statutes "conferring authority or discretion" on the President) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Act of Dec. 19, 1806, ch. 1, 2 Stat. 411 (President "authorized" to "suspend the operation of" a customs law "if in his judgment the public interest should require it"); Act of June 4, 1794, ch. 41, § 1, 1 Stat. 372 (empowering President to lay an embargo on ships in ports "whenever, in his opinion, the public safety shall so require" and to revoke related regulations "whenever he shall think proper"). In 1922 Congress gave the President the authority to adjust tariff rates to "equalize" the differences in costs of production at home and abroad, see Tariff Act of 1922, ch. 356,
These statutory delegations resemble today's Act more closely than one might at first suspect. They involve a duty on imports, which is a tax. That tax in the last century was as important then as the income tax is now, for it provided most of the Federal Government's revenues. See U. S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau, Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, pt. 2, at 1106 (in 1890, when Congress passed the statute at issue in Field, tariff revenues were 57% of the total receipts of the Federal Government). And the delegation then thus affected a far higher percentage of federal revenues than the tax-related delegation over extremely "limited" tax benefits here. See supra, at 487.
The standards at issue in these earlier laws, such as "unreasonable," were frequently vague and without precise meaning. See, e. g., Act of Oct. 1, 1890, § 3, 26 Stat. 612. Indeed, the word "equalize" in the 1922 statute, 42 Stat. 942, could not have been administered as if it offered the precision it seems to promise, for a tariff that literally "equalized" domestic and foreign production costs would, because of transport costs, have virtually ended foreign trade.
Nor can I accept the majority's effort to distinguish these examples. The majority says that these statutes imposed a specific "duty" upon the President to act upon the occurrence of a specified event. See ante, at 443. But, in fact, some of the statutes imposed no duty upon the President at all. See, e. g., Act of Dec. 19, 1806, ch. 1, 2 Stat. 411 (President "authorized" to "suspend the operation of" a customs law "if in his judgment the public interest should require it"). Others imposed a "duty" in terms so vague as to leave substantial discretion in the President's hands. See Act of Oct. 1, 1890, 26 Stat. 612 (President's "duty" to suspend tariff law was triggered "whenever" and "so often as" he was "satisfied"
The majority also tries to distinguish these examples on the ground that the President there executed congressional policy while here he rejects that policy. See ante, at 444. The President here, however, in exercising his delegated authority does not reject congressional policy. Rather, he executes a law in which Congress has specified its desire that the President have the very authority he has exercised. See Part III, supra.
The majority further points out that these cases concern imports, an area that, it says, implicates foreign policy and therefore justifies an unusual degree of discretion by the President. See ante, at 445. Congress, however, has not limited its delegations of taxation authority to the "foreign policy" arena. The first Congress gave the Secretary of the Treasury the "power to mitigate or remit" statutory penalties for nonpayment of liquor taxes "upon such terms and conditions as shall appear to him reasonable." Act of Mar. 3, 1791, ch. 15, § 43, 1 Stat. 209. A few years later, the Secretary was authorized, in lieu of collecting the stamp duty enacted by Congress, "to agree to an annual composition for the amount of such stamp duty, with any of the said banks, of one per centum on the amount of the annual dividend made by such banks." Act of July 6, 1797, ch. 11, § 2, 1 Stat. 528. More recently, Congress has given to the Executive Branch the authority to "prescribe all needful rules and regulations for the enforcement of [the Internal Revenue Code], including all rules and regulations as may be necessary by reason of any alteration of law in relation to internal revenue." 26 U. S. C. § 7805(a). And the Court has held that such rules and regulations, "which undoubtedly affect individual taxpayer liability, are . . . without doubt the result of entirely appropriate delegations of discretionary authority
Finally, the tax-related delegation is limited in ways that tend to diminish any widespread risk of arbitrary Presidential decision making:
(1) The Act does not give the President authority to change general tax policy. That is because the limited tax benefits are defined in terms of deviations from tax policy, i. e., special benefits to fewer than 100 individuals. See 2 U. S. C. § 691e(9)(A)(i) (1994 ed., Supp. II); see also Analytical Perpectives 84 (defining "tax expenditure" as "a preferential exception to the baseline provisions of the tax structure").
(2) The Act requires the President to make the same kind of policy judgment with respect to these special benefits as with respect to items of spending. He is to consider the budget as a whole, he is to consider the particular history of the tax benefit provision, and he is to consider whether the provision is worth the loss of revenue it causes in the same way that he must decide whether a particular expenditure item is worth the added revenue that it requires. See supra, at 484-485.
(3) The delegated authority does not destroy any individual's expectation of receiving a particular benefit, for the Act is written to say to the small group of taxpayers who may receive the benefit, "Taxpayers, you will receive an exemption from ordinary tax laws, but only if the President decides the budgetary loss is not too great."
(4) The "limited tax benefit" provisions involve only a small part of the federal budget, probably less than one percent of total annual outlays and revenues. Compare Budget 303 (federal outlays and receipts in 1997 were both over $1.5 trillion ) with App. to Juris. Statement 71a (President's cancellation message for Snake River appellees' limited tax benefit,
(5) Because the "tax benefit" provisions are part and parcel of the budget provisions, and because the Act in defining them, focuses upon "revenue-losing" tax provisions, 2 U. S. C. § 691e(9)(A)(i) (1994 ed., Supp. II), it regards "tax benefits" as if they were a special kind of spending, namely spending that puts back into the pockets of a small group of taxpayers, money that "baseline" tax policy would otherwise take from them. There is, therefore, no need to consider this provision as if it represented a delegation of authority to the President, outside the budget expenditure context, to set major policy under the federal tax laws. But cf. Skinner v. Mid-America Pipeline, supra, at 222-223 (no "different and stricter" nondelegation doctrine in the taxation context). Still less does approval of the delegation in this case, given the long history of Presidential discretion in the budgetary context, automatically justify the delegation to the President of the authority to alter the effect of other laws outside that context.
The upshot is that, in my view, the "limited tax benefit" provisions do not differ enough from the "spending" provisions to warrant a different "nondelegation" result.
In sum, I recognize that the Act before us is novel. In a sense, it skirts a constitutional edge. But that edge has to do with means, not ends. The means chosen do not amount literally to the enactment, repeal, or amendment of a law. Nor, for that matter, do they amount literally to the "line item veto" that the Act's title announces. Those means do not violate any basic separation-of-powers principle. They do not improperly shift the constitutionally foreseen balance of power from Congress to the President. Nor, since
Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the Bar of the City of New York by Louis A. Craco, Jr., James F. Parver, and David P. Felsher; for Senator Robert C. Byrd et al. by Michael Davidson and Mark A. Patterson; and for Representative Henry W. Waxman et al. by Alan B. Morrison.
"(c) WAIVER OF CERTAIN PROVIDER TAX PROVISIONS.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, taxes, fees, or assessments, as defined in section 1903(w)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act (42 U. S. C. 1396b(w)(3)(A)), that were collected by the State of New York from a health care provider before June 1, 1997, and for which a waiver of the provisions of subparagraph (B) or (C) of section 1903(w)(3) of such Act has been applied for, or that would, but for this subsection require that such a waiver be applied for, in accordance with subparagraph (E) of such section, and, (if so applied for) upon which action by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (including any judicial review of any such proceeding) has not been completed as of July 23, 1997, are deemed to be permissible health care related taxes and in compliance with the requirements of subparagraphs (B) and (C) of section 1903(w)(3) of such Act." 111 Stat. 515.
"(2) QUALIFIED REFINER OR PROCESSOR.—For purposes of this subsection, the term `qualified refiner or processor' means a domestic corporation—
"(A) substantially all of the activities of which consist of the active conduct of the trade or business of refining or processing agricultural or horticultural products, and
"(B) which, during the 1-year period ending on the date of the sale, purchases more than one-half of such products to be refined or processed from—
"(i)farmers who make up the eligible farmers' cooperative which is purchasing stock in the corporation in a transaction to which this subsection is to apply, or
"(ii)such cooperative." 111 Stat. 896.
Because both the City of New York and the health care appellees have standing, we need not consider whether the appellee unions also have standing to sue. See, e. g., Bowsher v. Synar, 478 U.S. 714, 721 (1986).
Having found that both the New York and Snake River appellees are actually injured, traceability and redress ability are easily satisfied—each injury is traceable to the President's cancellation of § 4722(c) or § 968, and would be redressed by a declaratory judgment that the cancellations are invalid.
"It is, first, uncertain how many racially discriminatory private schools are in fact receiving tax exemptions. Moreover, it is entirely speculative. . . whether withdrawal of a tax exemption from any particular school would lead the school to change its policies. . . . It is just as speculative whether any given parent of a child attending such a private school would decide to transfer the child to public school as a result of any changes in educational or financial policy made by the private school once it was threatened with loss of tax-exempt status. It is also pure speculation whether, in a particular community, a large enough number of the numerous relevant school officials and parents would reach decisions that collectively would have a significant impact on the racial composition of the public schools." Id., at 758 (footnote omitted).
Similarly, in Simon, the respondents challenged an IRS Revenue Ruling that granted favorable tax treatment to nonprofit hospitals that offered only emergency-room services to the poor. The respondents argued that the Revenue Ruling "`encouraged' hospitals to deny services to indigents." 426 U. S., at 42. As in Allen, we held that the chain of causation was too attenuated:
"It is purely speculative whether the denials of service . . . fairly can be traced to [the IRS's] `encouragement' or instead result from decisions made by the hospitals without regard to the tax implications.
"It is equally speculative whether the desired exercise of the court's remedial powers in this suit would result in the availability to respondents of such services. So far as the complaint sheds light, it is just as plausible that the hospitals to which respondents may apply for service would elect to forgo favorable tax treatment to avoid the undetermined financial drain of an increase in the level of uncompensated services." 426 U. S., at 42-43. See also id., at 45 ("Speculative inferences are necessary to connect [respondents'] injury to the challenged actions of petitioners").
The injury in the present case is comparable to the repeal of a law granting a subsidy to sellers of processing plants if, and only if, they sell to farmers' cooperatives. Every farmers' cooperative seeking to buy a processing plant is harmed by that repeal.
"The term `cancel' or `cancellation' means—
"(A) with respect to any dollar amount of discretionary budget authority, to rescind;
"(B) with respect to any item of new direct spending—
"(i) that is budget authority provided by law (other than an appropriation law), to prevent such budget authority from having legal force or effect;
"(ii) that is entitlement authority, to prevent the specific legal obligation of the United States from having legal force or effect; or
"(iii) through the food stamp program, to prevent the specific provision of law that results in an increase in budget authority or outlays for that program from having legal force or effect; and
"(C) with respect to a limited tax benefit, to prevent the specific provision of law that provides such benefit from having legal force or effect." 2 U. S. C. § 691e(4) (1994 ed., Supp. II).
"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."