Section 3: Legislative, Diplomatic, and Law Enforcement Duties of the President
Legislative Role of the President The clause directing the President to report to the Congress on the state of the union imposes a duty rather than confers a power, and is the formal basis of the President's legislative leadership. The President's legislative role has attained great proportions since 1900. This development, however, represents the play of political and social forces rather than any pronounced change in constitutional interpretation. Especially is it the result of the rise of parties and the accompanying recognition of the President as party leader, of the appearance of the National Nominating Convention and the Party Platform, and of the introduction of the Spoils System, an ever present help to Presidents in times of troubled relations with Congress.
It is true that certain pre-Civil War Presidents, mostly of Whig extraction, professed to entertain nice scruples on the score of "usurping" legislative powers, but still earlier ones, Washington, Jefferson, and Jackson among them, took a very different line, albeit less boldly and persistently than their later imitators. Today, there is no subject on which the President may not appropriately communicate to Congress, in as precise terms as he chooses, his conception of its duty. Conversely, the President is not obliged by this clause to impart information which, in his judgment, should in the public interest be withheld. The President has frequently summoned both Houses into "extra" or "special sessions" for legislative purposes, and the Senate alone for the consideration of nominations and treaties. His power to adjourn the Houses has never been exercised.
The Conduct of Foreign Relations
The Right of Reception: Scope of the Power
"Ambassadors and other public ministers" embraces not only "all possible diplomatic agents which any foreign power may accredit to the United States," but also, as a practical construction of the Constitution, all foreign consular agents, who therefore may not exercise their functions in the United States without an exequatur from the President. The power to "receive" ambassadors, et cetera, includes, moreover, the right to refuse to receive them, to request their recall, to dismiss them, and to determine their eligibility under our laws. Furthermore, this power makes the President the sole mouthpiece of the nation in its dealing with other nations.
The Presidential Monopoly
Wrote Jefferson in 1790: "The transaction of business with foreign nations is executive altogether. It belongs, then, to the head of that department, except as to such portions of it as are specially submitted to the Senate. Exceptions are to be construed strictly." So when Citizen Genet, envoy to the United States from the first French Republic, sought an exequatur for a consul whose commission was addressed to the Congress of the United States, Jefferson informed him that "as the President was the only channel of communication between the United States and foreign nations, it was from him alone 'that foreign nations or their agents are to learn what is or has been the will of the nation'; that whatever he communicated as such, they had a right and were bound to consider 'as the expression of the nation'; and that no foreign agent could be 'allowed to question it,' or 'to interpose between him and any other branch of government, under the pretext of either's transgressing their functions.' Mr. Jefferson therefore declined to enter into any discussion of the question as to whether it belonged to the President under the Constitution to admit or exclude foreign agents. 'I inform you of the fact,' he said, 'by authority from the President.' Mr. Jefferson returned the consul's commission and declared that the President would issue no exequatur to a consul except upon a commission correctly addressed."
The Logan Act.-When in 1798 a Philadelphia Quaker named Logan went to Paris on his own to undertake a negotiation with the French Government with a view to averting war between France and the United States, his enterprise stimulated Congress to pass "An Act to Prevent Usurpation of Executive Functions," which, "more honored in the breach than the observance," still survives on the statute books. The year following, John Marshall, then a Member of the House of Representatives, defended President John Adams for delivering a fugitive from justice to Great Britain under the 27th article of the Jay Treaty, instead of leaving the business to the courts. He said: "The President is the sole organ of the nation in its external relations, and its sole representative with foreign nations. Of consequence, the demand of a foreign nation can only be made on him. He possesses the whole Executive power. He holds and directs the force of the nation. Of consequence, any act to be performed by the force of the nation is to be performed through him." Ninety-nine years later, a Senate Foreign Relations Committee took occasion to reiterate Marshall's doctrine with elaboration.
A Formal or a Formative Power.-In his attack, instigated by Jefferson, upon Washington's Proclamation of Neutrality in 1793 at the outbreak of war between France and Great Britain, Madison advanced the argument that all large questions of foreign policy fell within the ambit of Congress, by virtue of its power "to declare war," and in support of this proposition he disparaged the presidential function of reception: "I shall not undertake to examine, what would be the precise extent and effect of this function in various cases which fancy may suggest, or which time may produce. It will be more proper to observe, in general, and every candid reader will second the observation, that little, if anything, more was intended by the clause, than to provide for a particular mode of communication, almost grown into a right among modern nations; by pointing out the department of the government, most proper for the ceremony of admitting public ministers, of examining their credentials, and of authenticating their title to the privileges annexed to their character by the law of nations. This being the apparent design of the constitution, it would be highly improper to magnify the function into an important prerogative, even when no rights of other departments could be affected by it."
The President's Diplomatic Role.-Hamilton, although he had expressed substantially the same view in The Federalist regarding the power of reception, adopted a very different conception of it in defense of Washington's proclamation. Writing under the pseudonym, "Pacificus," he said: "The right of the executive to receive ambassadors and other public ministers, may serve to illustrate the relative duties of the executive and legislative departments. This right includes that of judging, in the case of a revolution of government in a foreign country, whether the new rulers are competent organs of the national will, and ought to be recognized, or not; which, where a treaty antecedently exists between the United States and such nation, involves the power of continuing or suspending its operation. For until the new government is acknowledged, the treaties between the nations, so far at least as regards public rights, are of course suspended. This power of determining virtually upon the operation of national treaties, as a consequence of the power to receive public ministers, is an important instance of the right of the executive, to decide upon the obligations of the country with regard to foreign nations. To apply it to the case of France, if there had been a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, between the United States and that country, the unqualified acknowledgment of the new government would have put the United States in a condition to become as an associate in the war with France, and would have laid the legislature under an obligation, if required, and there was otherwise no valid excuse, of exercising its power of declaring war. This serves as an example of the right of the executive, in certain cases, to determine the condition of the nation, though it may, in its consequences, affect the exercise of the power of the legislature to declare war. Nevertheless, the executive cannot thereby control the exercise of that power. The legislature is still free to perform its duties, according to its own sense of them; though the executive, in the exercise of its constitutional powers, may establish an antecedent state of things, which ought to weigh in the legislative decision. The division of the executive power in the Constitution, creates a concurrent authority in the cases to which it relates."
Jefferson's Real Position.-Nor did Jefferson himself officially support Madison's point of view, as the following extract from his "minutes of a Conversation," which took place July 10, 1793, between himself and Citizen Genet, show: "He asked if they [Congress] were not the sovereign. I told him no, they were sovereign in making laws only, the executive was sovereign in executing them, and the judiciary in construing them where they related to their department. 'But,' said he, 'at least, Congress are bound to see that the treaties are observed.' I told him no; there were very few cases indeed arising out of treaties, which they could take notice of; that the President is to see that treaties are observed. 'If he decides against the treaty, to whom is a nation to appeal?' I told him the Constitution had made the President the last appeal. He made me a bow, and said, that indeed he would not make me his compliments on such a Constitution, expressed the utmost astonishment at it, and seemed never before to have had such an idea."
The Power of Recognition
In his endeavor in 1793 to minimize the importance of the President's power of reception, Madison denied that it involved cognizance of the question, whether those exercising the government of the accrediting State had the right along with the possession. He said: "This belongs to the nation, and to the nation alone, on whom the government operates.... It is evident, therefore, that if the executive has a right to reject a public minister, it must be founded on some other consideration than a change in the government, or the newness of the government; and consequently a right to refuse to acknowledge a new government cannot be implied by the right to refuse a public minister. It is not denied that there may be cases in which a respect to the general principles of liberty, the essential rights of the people, or the overruling sentiments of humanity, might require a government, whether new or old, to be treated as an illegitimate despotism. Such are in fact discussed and admitted by the most approved authorities. But they are great and extraordinary cases, by no means submitted to so limited an organ of the national will as the executive of the United States; and certainly not to be brought by any torture of words, within the right to receive ambassadors."
Hamilton, with the case of Genet before him, had taken the contrary position, which history has ratified. In consequence of his power to receive and dispatch diplomatic agents, but more especially the former, the President possesses the power to recognize new states, communities claiming the status of belligerency, and changes of government in established states; also, by the same token, the power to decline recognition, and thereby decline diplomatic relations with such new states or governments. The affirmative precedents down to 1906 are succinctly summarized by John Bassett Moore in his famous Digest, as follows: "In the preceding review of the recognition, respectively, of the new states, new governments, and belligerency, there has been made in each case a precise statement of facts, showing how and by whom the recognition was accorded. In every case, as it appears, of a new government and of belligerency, the question of recognition was determined solely by the Executive. In the case of the Spanish-American republics, of Texas, of Hayti, and of Liberia, the President, before recognizing the new state, invoked the judgment and cooperation of Congress; and in each of these cases provision was made for the appointment of a minister, which, when made in due form, constitutes, as has been seen, according to the rules of international law, a formal recognition. In numerous other cases, the recognition was given by the Executive solely on his own responsibility."
The Case of Cuba.-The question of Congress' right also to recognize new states was prominently raised in connection with Cuba's successful struggle for independence. Beset by numerous legislative proposals of a more or less mandatory character, urging recognition upon the President, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in 1897, made an elaborate investigation of the whole subject and came to the following conclusions as to this power: "The 'recognition' of independence or belligerency of a foreign power, technically speaking, is distinctly a diplomatic matter. It is properly evidenced either by sending a public minister to the Government thus recognized, or by receiving a public minister therefrom. The latter is the usual and proper course. Diplomatic relations with a new power are properly, and customarily inaugurated at the request of that power, expressed through an envoy sent for the purpose. The reception of this envoy, as pointed out, is the act of the President alone. The next step, that of sending a public minister to the nation thus recognized, is primarily the act of the President. The Senate can take no part in it at all, until the President has sent in a nomination. Then it acts in its executive capacity, and, customarily, in 'executive session.' The legislative branch of the Government can exercise no influence over this step except, very indirectly, by withholding appropriations.... Nor can the legislative branch of the Government hold any communications with foreign nations. The executive branch is the sole mouthpiece of the nation in communication with foreign sovereignties."
"Foreign nations communicate only through their respective executive departments. Resolutions of their legislative departments upon diplomatic matters have no status in international law. In the department of international law, therefore, properly speaking, a Congressional recognition of belligerency or independence would be a nullity.... Congress can help the Cuban insurgents by legislation in many ways, but it cannot help them legitimately by mere declarations, or by attempts to engage in diplomatic negotiations, if our interpretation of the Constitution is correct. That it is correct ... [is] shown by the opinions of jurists and statesmen of the past." Congress was able ultimately to bundle a clause recognizing the independence of Cuba, as distinguished from its government, into the declaration of war of April 11, 1898, against Spain. For the most part, the sponsors of the clause defended it by the following line of reasoning. Diplomacy, they said, was now at an end, and the President himself had appealed to Congress to provide a solution for the Cuban situation. In response, Congress was about to exercise its constitutional power of declaring war, and it has consequently the right to state the purpose of the war which it was about to declare. The recognition of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1933 was an exclusively presidential act.
The Power of Nonrecognition.-The potentialities of non-recognition were conspicuously illustrated by President Woodrow Wilson when he refused, early in 1913, to recognize Provisional President Huerta as the de facto government of Mexico, thereby contributing materially to Huerta's downfall the year following. At the same time, Wilson announced a general policy of nonrecognition in the case of any government founded on acts of violence, and while he observed this rule with considerable discretion, he consistently refused to recognize the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and his successors prior to President Franklin D. Roosevelt did the same. The refusal of the Hoover administration to recognize the independence of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo early in 1932 was based on kindred grounds. Similarly, the nonrecognition of the Chinese Communist Government from the Truman Administration to President Nixon's de facto recognition through a visit in 1972-not long after the People's Republic of China was admitted to the United Nations and Taiwan excluded-proved to be an important part of American foreign policy during the Cold War.
Congressional Implementation of Presidential Policies
No President was ever more jealous of his prerogative in the realm of foreign relations than Woodrow Wilson. When, however, strong pressure was brought to bear upon him by Great Britain respecting his Mexican Policy, he was constrained to go before Congress and ask for a modification of the Panama Tolls Act of 1911, which had also aroused British ire. Addressing Congress, he said, "I ask this of you in support of the foreign policy of the Administration. I shall not know how to deal with other matters of even greater delicacy and nearer consequence if you do not grant it to me in ungrudging measure."
The fact is, of course, that Congress has enormous powers, the support of which is indispensable to any foreign policy. In the long run, Congress is the body that lays and collects taxes for the common defense, that creates armies and maintains navies, although it does not direct them, that pledges the public credit, that declares war, that defines offenses against the law of nations, that regulates foreign commerce; and it has the further power "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper"-that is, which it deems to be such- for carrying into execution not only its own powers but all the powers "of the government of the United States and of any department or officer thereof." Moreover, its laws made "in pursuance" of these powers are "supreme law of the land," and the President is bound constitutionally to "take care that" they "be faithfully executed." In point of fact, congressional legislation has operated to augment presidential powers in the foreign field much more frequently than it has to curtail them. The Lend-Lease Act of March 11, 1941 is the classic example, although it only brought to culmination a whole series of enactments with which Congress had aided and abetted the administration's foreign policy in the years between 1934 and 1941. Disillusionment with presidential policies in the context of the Vietnamese conflict led Congress to legislate restrictions, not only with respect to the discretion of the President to use troops abroad in the absence of a declaration of war, but also limiting his economic and political powers through curbs on his authority to declare national emergencies. The lesson of history, however, appears to be that congressional efforts to regain what is deemed to have been lost to the President are intermittent, whereas the presidential exercise of power in today's world is unremitting.
The Doctrine of Political Questions
It is not within the province of the courts to inquire into the policy underlying action taken by the "political departments"-Congress and the President-in the exercise of their conceded powers. This commonplace maxim is, however, sometimes given an enlarged application, so as to embrace questions as to the existence of facts and even questions of law, which the Court would normally regard as falling within its jurisdiction. Such questions are termed "political questions," and are especially common in the field of foreign relations. The leading case is Foster v. Neilson, where the matter in dispute was the validity of a grant made by the Spanish Government in 1804 of land lying to the east of the Mississippi River, and in which there was also raised the question whether the region between the Perdido and Mississippi Rivers belonged in 1804 to Spain or the United States.
Chief Justice Marshall's opinion of the Court held that the Court was bound by the action of the political departments, the President and Congress, in claiming the land for the United States. He said: "If those departments which are intrusted with the foreign intercourse of the nation, which assert and maintain its interests against foreign powers, have unequivocally asserted its right of dominion over a country of which it is in possession, and which it claims under a treaty; if the legislature has acted on the construction thus asserted, it is not in its own courts that this construction is to be denied. A question like this, respecting the boundaries of nations, is, as has been truly said, more a political than a legal question, and in its discussion, the courts of every country must respect the pronounced will of the legislature." The doctrine thus clearly stated is further exemplified, with particular reference to presidential action, by Williams v. Suffolk Ins. Co. In this case the underwriters of a vessel which had been confiscated by the Argentine Government for catching seals off the Falkland Islands, contrary to that Government's orders, sought to escape liability by showing that the Argentinian Government was the sovereign over these islands and that, accordingly, the vessel had been condemned for willful disregard of legitimate authority. The Court decided against the company on the ground that the President had taken the position that the Falkland Islands were not a part of Argentina. "[C] an there be any doubt, that when the executive branch of the government, which is charged with our foreign relations, shall, in its correspondence with a foreign nation, assume a fact in regard to the sovereignty of any island or country, it is conclusive on the judicial department? And in this view, it is not material to inquire, nor is it the province of the court to determine, whether the executive be right or wrong. It is enough to know, that in the exercise of his constitutional functions, he had decided the question. Having done this, under the responsibilities which belong to him, it is obligatory on the people and government of the Union."
"If this were not the rule, cases might often arise, in which, on most important questions of foreign jurisdiction, there would be an irreconcilable difference between the executive and judicial departments. By one of these departments, a foreign island or country might be considered as at peace with the United States; whilst the other would consider it in a state of war. No well-regulated government has ever sanctioned a principle so unwise, and so destructive of national character." Thus, the right to determine the boundaries of the country is a political function, as is also the right to determine what country is sovereign of a particular region, to determine whether a community is entitled under international law to be considered a belligerent or an independent state, to determine whether the other party has duly ratified a treaty, to determine who is the de jure or de facto ruler of a country, to determine whether a particular person is a duly accredited diplomatic agent to the United States, to determine how long a military occupation shall continue in fulfillment of the terms of a treaty, to determine whether a treaty is in effect or not, although doubtless an extinguished treaty could be constitutionally renewed by tacit consent.
Recent Statements of the Doctrine.-The assumption underlying the refusal of courts to intervene in such cases is well stated in the case of Chicago & S. Airlines v. Waterman S.S. Corp. Here, the Court refused to review orders of the Civil Aeronautics Board granting or denying applications by citizen carriers to engage in overseas and foreign air transportation, which by the terms of the Civil Aeronautics Act were subject to approval by the President and therefore impliedly beyond those provisions of the act authorizing judicial review of board orders. Elaborating on the necessity of judicial abstinence in the conduct of foreign relations, Justice Jackson declared for the Court: "The President, both as Commander in Chief and as the Nation's organ for foreign affairs, has available intelligence services whose reports are not and ought not be published to the world. It would be intolerable that courts, without the relevant information, should review and perhaps nullify actions of the Executive taken on information properly held secret. Nor can courts sit in camera in order to be taken into executive confidences. But even if courts could require full disclosure, the very nature of executive decisions as to foreign policy is political, not judicial. Such decisions are wholly confided by our Constitution on the political departments of the government, Executive and Legislative. They are delicate, complex, and involve large elements of prophecy. They are and should be undertaken only by those directly responsible to the people whose welfare they advance or imperil. They are decisions of a kind for which the Judiciary has neither aptitude, facilities nor responsibility and which has long been held to belong in the domain of political power not subject to judicial intrusion or inquiry."
To the same effect are the Court's holding and opinion in Ludecke v. Watkins, where the question at issue was the power of the President to order the deportation under the Alien Enemy Act of 1798 of a German alien enemy after the cessation of hostilities with Germany. Said Justice Frankfurter for the Court: "War does not cease with a cease-fire order, and power to be exercised by the President such as that conferred by the Act of 1798 is a process which begins when war is declared but is not exhausted when the shooting stops.... The Court would be assuming the functions of the political agencies of the Government to yield to the suggestion that the unconditional surrender of Germany and the disintegration of the Nazi Reich have left Germany without a government capable of negotiating a treaty of peace. It is not for us to question a belief by the President that enemy aliens who were justifiably deemed fit subject for internment during active hostilities do not lose their potency for mischief during the period of confusion and conflict which is characteristic of a state of war even when the guns are silent but the peace of Peace has not come. These are matters of political judgment for which judges have neither technical competence nor official responsibility."
A Court review of the political question doctrine is found in Baker v. Carr. There, Justice Brennan noted and elaborated the factors which go into making a question political and inappropriate for judicial decision. On the matter at hand, he said: "There are sweeping statements to the effect that all questions touching foreign relations are political questions. Not only does resolution of such issues frequently turn on standards that defy judicial application, or involve the exercise of a discretion demonstrably committed to the executive or legislature; but many such questions uniquely demand single-voiced statement of the Government's views. Yet it is error to suppose that every case or controversy which touches foreign relations lies beyond judicial cognizance. Our cases in this field seem invariably to show a discriminating analysis of the particular question posed, in terms of the history of its management by the political branches, of its susceptibility to judicial handling in the light of its nature and posture in the specific case, and of the possible consequences of judicial action." However, the Court came within one vote of creating a broad application of the political question doctrine in foreign relations disputes, at least in the context of a dispute between Congress and the President with respect to a proper allocation of constitutional powers. In any event, the Court, in adjudicating on the merits disputes in which the foreign relations powers are called into question, follows a policy of such deference to executive and congressional expertise that the result may not be dissimilar to a broad application of the political question doctrine.
The President as Law Enforcer
Powers Derived From This Duty
The Constitution does not say that the President shall execute the laws, but that "he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed," i.e., by others, who are commonly, but not always with strict accuracy, termed his subordinates. What powers are implied from this duty? In this connection, five categories of executive power should be distinguished: first, there is that executive power which the Constitution confers directly upon the President by the opening clause of article II and, in more specific terms, by succeeding clauses of the same article; secondly, there is the sum total of the powers which acts of Congress at any particular time confer upon the President; thirdly, there is the sum total of discretionary powers which acts of Congress at any particular time confer upon heads of departments and other executive ("administrative") agencies of the National Government; fourthly, there is the power which stems from the duty to enforce the criminal statutes of the United States; finally, there are so-called "ministerial duties" which admit of no discretion as to the occasion or the manner of their discharge. Three principal questions arise: first, how does the President exercise the powers which the Constitution or the statutes confer upon him; second, in what relation does he stand by virtue of the "take care" clause to the powers of other executive or administrative agencies; third, in what relation does he stand to the enforcement of the criminal laws of the United States?
Whereas the British monarch is constitutionally under the necessity of acting always through agents if his acts are to receive legal recognition, the President is presumed to exercise certain of his constitutional powers personally. In the words of an opinion by Attorney General Cushing in 1855: "It may be presumed that he, the man discharging the presidential office, and he alone, grants reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States.... So he, and he alone, is the supreme commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States when called into the actual service of the United States. That is a power constitutionally inherent in the person of the President. No act of Congress, no act even of the President himself, can, by constitutional possibility, authorize or create any military officer not subordinate to the President." Moreover, the obligation to act personally may be sometimes enlarged by statute, as, for example, by the act organizing the President with other designated officials into "an Establishment by name of the Smithsonian Institute." Here, says the Attorney General, "the President's name of office is designatio personae." He was also of opinion that expenditures from the "secret service" fund, in order to be valid, must be vouched for by the President personally. On like grounds the Supreme Court once held void a decree of a court martial, because, though it has been confirmed by the Secretary of War, it was not specifically stated to have received the sanction of the President as required by the 65th Article of War. This case has, however, been virtually overruled, and at any rate such cases are exceptional.
The general rule, as stated by the Court, is that when any duty is cast by law upon the President, it may be exercised by him through the head of the appropriate department, whose acts, if performed within the law, thus become the President's acts. Williams v. United States involved an act of Congress which prohibited the advance of public money in any case whatever to disbursing officers of the United States, except under special direction by the President. The Supreme Court held that the act did not require the personal performance by the President of this duty. Such a practice, said the Court, if it were possible, would absorb the duties of the various departments of the government in the personal acts of one chief executive officer, and be fraught with mischief to the public service. The President's duty in general requires his superintendence of the administration; yet he cannot be required to become the administrative officer of every department and bureau, or to perform in person the numerous details incident to services which, nevertheless, he is, in a correct sense, by the Constitution and laws required and expected to perform. As a matter of administrative practice, in fact, most orders and instructions emanating from the heads of the departments, even though in pursuance of powers conferred by statute on the President, do not even refer to the President.
Impoundment of Appropriated Funds
In his Third Annual Message to Congress, President Jefferson established the first faint outline of what years later became a major controversy. Reporting that $50,000 in funds which Congress had appropriated for fifteen gunboats on the Mississippi remained unexpended, the President stated that a "favorable and peaceful turn of affairs on the Mississippi rendered an immediate execution of the law unnecessary... ." But he was not refusing to expend the money, only delaying action to obtain improved gunboats; a year later, he told Congress that the money was being spent and gun-boats were being obtained. A few other instances of deferrals or refusals to spend occurred in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, but it was only with the Administration of President Franklin Roosevelt that a President refused to spend moneys for the purposes appropriated. Succeeding Presidents expanded upon these precedents, and in the Nixon Administration a well-formulated plan of impoundments was executed in order to reduce public spending and to negate programs established by congressional legislation.
Impoundment was defended by Administration spokesmen as being a power derived from the President's executive powers and particularly from his obligation to see to the faithful execution of the laws, i.e., his discretion in the manner of execution. The President, the argument went, is responsible for deciding when two conflicting goals of Congress can be harmonized and when one must give way, when, for example, congressional desire to spend certain moneys must yield to congressional wishes to see price and wage stability. In some respects, impoundment was said or implied to flow from certain inherent executive powers that repose in any President. Finally, statutory support was sought; certain laws were said to confer discretion to withhold spending, and it was argued that congressional spending programs are discretionary rather than mandatory.
On the other hand, it was argued that Congress' powers under Article I, § 8, were fully adequate to support its decision to authorize certain programs, to determine the amount of funds to be spent on them, and to mandate the Executive to execute the laws. Permitting the President to impound appropriated funds allowed him the power of item veto, which he does not have, and denied Congress the opportunity to override his veto of bills enacted by Congress. In particular, the power of Congress to compel the President to spend appropriated moneys was said to derive from Congress' power "to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution" the enumerated powers of Congress and "all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or officer thereof."
The President's decision to impound large amounts of appropriated funds led to two approaches to curtail the power. First, many persons and organizations, with a reasonable expectation of receipt of the impounded funds upon their release, brought large numbers of suits; with a few exceptions, these suits resulted in decisions denying the President either constitutional or statutory power to decline to spend or obligate funds, and the Supreme Court, presented with only statutory arguments by the Administration, held that no discretion existed under the particular statute to withhold allotments of funds to the States. Second, Congress in the course of revising its own manner of appropriating funds in accordance with budgetary responsibility provided for mandatory reporting of impoundments to Congress, for congressional disapproval of impoundments, and for court actions by the Comptroller General to compel spending or obligation of funds.
Generally speaking, the law recognized two types of impoundments: "routine" or "programmatic" reservations of budget authority to provide for the inevitable contingencies that arise in administering congressionally-funded programs and "policy" decisions that are ordinarily intended to advance the broader fiscal or other policy objectives of the executive branch contrary to congressional wishes in appropriating funds in the first place.
Routine reservations were to come under the terms of a revised Anti-Deficiency Act. Prior to its amendment, this law had permitted the President to "apportion" funds "to provide for contingencies, or to effect savings whenever savings are made possible by or through changes in requirements, greater efficiency of operations, or other developments subsequent to the date on which such appropriation was made available." President Nixon had relied on this "other developments" language as authorization to impound, for what in essence were policy reasons. Congress deleted the controverted clause and retained the other language to authorize reservations to maintain funds for contingencies and to effect savings made possible in carrying out the program; it added a clause permitting reserves "as specifically provided by law."
"Policy" impoundments were to be reported to Congress by the President as permanent rescissions and, perhaps, as temporary deferrals. Rescissions are merely recommendations or proposals of the President and must be authorized by a bill or joint resolution, or, after 45 days from the presidential message, the funds must be made available for obligation. Temporary deferrals of budget authority for less than a full fiscal year, as provided in the 1974 law, were to be effective unless either the House of Representatives or the Senate passed a resolution of disapproval. With the decision in INS v. Chadha, voiding as unconstitutional the one-House legislative veto, it was evident that the veto provision in the deferral section of the Impoundment Control Act was no longer viable. An Administration effort to utilize the section, minus the veto device, was thwarted by court action, in which, applying established severability analysis, the court held that Congress would not have enacted the deferral provision in the absence of power to police its exercise through the veto. Thus, the entire deferral section was inoperative. Congress, in 1987, enacted a more restricted authority, limited to deferrals only for those purposes set out in the Anti-Deficiency Act.
With passage of the Act, the constitutional issues faded into the background; Presidents regularly reported rescission proposals, and Congress responded by enacting its own rescissions, usually topping the Presidents'. The entire field was, of course, confounded by the application of the other part of the 1974 law, the Budget Act, which restructured how budgets were received and acted on in Congress, and by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. This latter law was designed as a deficit- reduction forcing mechanism, so that unless President and Congress cooperate each year to reduce the deficit by prescribed amounts, a "sequestration" order would reduce funds down to a mandated figure. Dissatisfaction with the amount of deficit reduction continues to stimulate discussion of other means, such as "expedited" rescission and the line-item veto, many of which may raise some constitutional issues.
Power and Duty of the President in Relation to Subordinate Executive Officers
If the law casts a duty upon a head of department eo nomine, does the President thereupon become entitled by virtue of his duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed," to substitute his own judgment for that of the principal officer regarding the discharge of such duty? In the debate in the House in 1789 on the location of the removal power, Madison argued that it ought to be attributed to the President alone because it was "the intention of the Constitution, expressed especially in the faithful execution clause, that the first magistrate should be responsible for the executive department," and this responsibility, he held, carried with it the power to "inspect and control" the conduct of subordinate executive officers. "Vest," said he, "the power [of removal] in the Senate jointly with the President, and you abolish at once the great principle of unity and responsibility in the executive department, which was intended for the security of liberty and the public good."
But this was said with respect to the office of the Secretary of State, and when shortly afterward the question arose as to the power of Congress to regulate the tenure of the Comptroller of the Treasury, Madison assumed a very different attitude, conceding in effect that this office was to be an arm of certain of Congress' own powers and should therefore be protected against the removal power. And in Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice Marshall traced a parallel distinction between the duties of the Secretary of State under the original act which had created a "Department of Foreign Affairs" and those which had been added by the later act changing the designation of the department to its present one. The former were, he pointed out, entirely in the "political field," and hence for their discharge the Secretary was left responsible absolutely to the President. The latter, on the other hand, were exclusively of statutory origin and sprang from the powers of Congress. For these, therefore, the Secretary was "an officer of the law" and "amenable to the law for his conduct."
Administrative Decentralization Versus Jacksonian Centralism.-An opinion rendered by Attorney General Wirt in 1823 asserted the proposition that the President's duty under the "take care" clause required of him scarcely more than that he should bring a criminally negligent official to book for his derelictions, either by removing him or by setting in motion against him the processes of impeachment or of criminal prosecutions. The opinion entirely overlooked the important question of the location of the power to interpret the law, which is inevitably involved in any effort to enforce it. The diametrically opposed theory that Congress is unable to vest any head of an executive department, even within the field of Congress' specifically delegated powers, with any legal discretion which the President is not entitled to control was first asserted in unambiguous terms in President Jackson's Protest Message of April 15, 1834, defending his removal of Duane as Secretary of the Treasury, because of the latter's refusal to remove the deposits from the Bank of the United States. Here it is asserted "that the entire executive power is vested in the President;" that the power to remove those officers who are to aid him in the execution of the laws is an incident of that power; that the Secretary of the Treasury was such an officer; that the custody of the public property and money was an executive function exercised through the Secretary of the Treasury and his subordinates; that in the performance of these duties the Secretary was subject to the supervision and control of the President; and finally that the act establishing the Bank of the United States "did not, as it could not change the relation between the President and Secretary-did not release the former from his obligation to see the law faithfully executed nor the latter from the President's supervision and control." In short, the President's removal power, in this case unqualified, was the sanction provided by the Constitution for his power and duty to control his "subordinates" in all their official actions of public consequence.
Congressional Power Versus Presidential Duty to the Law.-The Court's 1838 decision in Kendall v. United States ex rel. Stokes, shed more light on congressional power to mandate actions by executive branch officials. The United States owed one Stokes money, and when Postmaster General Kendall, at Jackson's instigation, refused to pay it, Congress passed a special act ordering payment. Kendall, however, still proved noncompliant, whereupon Stokes sought and obtained a mandamus in the United States circuit court for the District of Columbia, and on appeal this decision was affirmed by the Supreme Court. While Kendall, like Marbury v. Madison, involved the question of the responsibility of a head of a department for the performance of a ministerial duty, the discussion by counsel before the Court and the Court's own opinion covered the entire subject of the relation of the President to his subordinates in the performance by them of statutory duties. The lower court had asserted that the duty of the President under the faithful execution clause gave him no other control over the officer than to see that he acts honestly, with proper motives, but no power to construe the law and see that the executive action conforms to it. Counsel for Kendall attacked this position vigorously, relying largely upon statements by Hamilton, Marshall, James Wilson, and Story having to do with the President's power in the field of foreign relations.
The Court rejected the implication with emphasis. There are, it pointed out, "certain political duties imposed upon many officers in the executive department, the discharge of which is under the direction of the President. But it would be an alarming doctrine, that Congress cannot impose upon any executive officer any duty they may think proper, which is not repugnant to any rights secured and protected by the Constitution; and in such cases the duty and responsibility grow out of and are subject to the control of the law, and not to the direction of the President. And this is emphatically the case, where the duty enjoined is of a mere ministerial character." In short, the Court recognized the underlying question of the case to be whether the President's duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed" made it constitutionally impossible for Congress ever to entrust the construction of its statutes to anybody but the President, and it answered this in the negative.
Myers Versus Morrison.-How does this issue stand today? The answer to this question, so far as there is one, is to be sought in a comparison of the Court's decision in the Myers case, on the one hand, and its decision in the Morrison case, on the other. The first decision is still valid to support the President's right to remove, and hence to control the decisions of, all officials through whom he exercises the great political powers which he derives from the Constitution, and also to remove many but not all officials- usually heads of departments - through whom he exercises powers conferred upon him by statute. Morrison, however, recasts Myers to be about the constitutional inability of Congress to participate in removal decisions. It permits Congress to limit the removal power of the President, and those acting for him, by imposition of a "good cause" standard, subject to a balancing test. That is, the Court now regards the critical issue not as what officials do, whether they perform "purely executive" functions or "quasi" legislative or judicial functions, though the duties and functions must be considered. Rather, the Courts must "ensure that Congress does not interfere with the President's exercise of the 'executive power"' and his constitutionally appointed duty under Article II to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Thus, the Court continued, Myers was correct in its holding and in its suggestion that there are some executive officials who must be removable by the President if he is to perform his duties. On the other hand, Congress may believe that it is necessary to protect the tenure of some officials, and if it has good reasons not limited to invasion of presidential prerogatives, it will be sustained, provided the removal restrictions are not of such a nature as to impede the President's ability to perform his constitutional duties. The officer in Morrison, the independent counsel, had investigative and prosecutorial functions, purely executive ones, but there were good reasons for Congress to secure her tenure and no showing that the restriction "unduly trammels" presidential powers.
The "bright-line" rule previously observed no longer holds. Now, Congress has a great deal more leeway in regulating executive officials, but it must articulate its reasons carefully and observe the fuzzy lines set by the Court.
Power of the President to Guide Enforcement of the Penal Law.-This matter also came to a head in "the reign of Andrew Jackson," preceding, and indeed foreshadowing, the Duane episode by some months. "At that epoch," Wyman relates in his Principles of Administrative Law, "the first amendment of the doctrine of centralism in its entirety was set forth in an obscure opinion upon an unimportant matter-The Jewels of the Princess of Orange, 2 Opin. 482 (1831). These jewels . . . were stolen from the Princess by one Polari and were seized by the officers of the United States Customs in the hands of the thief. Representations were made to the President of the United States by the Minister of the Netherlands of the facts in the matter, which were followed by a request for return of the jewels. In the meantime the District Attorney was prosecuting condemnation proceedings in behalf of the United States which he showed no disposition to abandon. The President felt himself in a dilemma, whether if it was by statute the duty of the District Attorney to prosecute or not, the President could interfere and direct whether to proceed or not. The opinion was written by Taney, then Attorney General; it is full of pertinent illustrations as to the necessity in an administration of full power in the chief executive as the concomitant of his full responsibility. It concludes: If it should be said that, the District Attorney having the power to discontinue the prosecution, there is no necessity for inferring a right in the President to direct him to exercise it-I answer that the direction of the President is not required to communicate any new authority to the District Attorney, but to direct him in the execution of a power he is admitted to possess. The most valuable and proper measure may often be for the President to order the District Attorney to discontinue prosecution. The District Attorney might refuse to obey the President's order; and if he did refuse, the prosecution, while he remained in office, would still go on; because the President himself could give no order to the court or to the clerk to make any particular entry. He could only act through his subordinate officer, the District Attorney, who is responsible to him and who holds his office at his pleasure. And if that officer still continues a prosecution which the President is satisfied ought not to continue, the removal of the disobedient officer and the substitution of one more worthy in his place would enable the President through him faithfully to execute the law. And it is for this among other reasons that the power of removing the District Attorney resides in the President."
The President as Law Interpreter
The power accruing to the President from his function of law interpretation preparatory to law enforcement is daily illustrated in relation to such statutes as the Anti-Trust Acts, the Taft-Hartley Act, the Internal Security Act, and many lesser statutes. Nor is this the whole story. Not only do all presidential regulations and orders based on statutes that vest power in him or on his own constitutional powers have the force of law, provided they do not transgress the Court's reading of such statutes or of the Constitution, but he sometimes makes law in a more special sense. In the famous Neagle case, an order of the Attorney General to a United States marshal to protect a Justice of the Supreme Court whose life has been threatened by a suitor was attributed to the President and held to be "a law of the United States" in the sense of section 753 of the Revised Statutes, and as such to afford basis for a writ of habeas corpus transferring the marshal, who had killed the attacker, from state to national custody. Speaking for the Court, Justice Miller inquired: "Is this duty [the duty of the President to take care that the laws be faithfully executed] limited to the enforcement of acts of Congress or of treaties of the United States according to their express terms, or does it include the rights, duties and obligations growing out of the Constitution itself, our international relations, and all the protection implied by the nature of the government under the Constitution?" Obviously, an affirmative answer is assumed to the second branch of this inquiry, an assumption which is borne out by numerous precedents. And in United States v. Midwest Oil Company, it was ruled that the President had, by dint of repeated assertion of it from an early date, acquired the right to withdraw, via the Land Department, public lands, both mineral and non-mineral, from private acquisition, Congress having never repudiated the practice.
Military Power in Law Enforcement: The Posse Comitatus
"Whenever the President considers that unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State or Territory by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, he may call into Federal service such of the militia of any State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to enforce those laws or to suppress the rebellion."
"The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both . . . shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy, if it-(1) so hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law . . . ."
These quoted provisions of the United States Code consolidate a course of legislation which began at the time of the Whiskey Rebellion of 1792. In Martin v. Mott, which arose out of the War of 1812, it was held that the authority to decide whether the exigency had arisen belonged exclusively to the President. Even before that time, Jefferson had, in 1808, in the course of his efforts to enforce the Embargo Acts, issued a proclamation ordering "all officers having authority, civil or military, who shall be found in the vicinity" of an unruly combination, to aid and assist "by all means in their power, by force of arms or otherwise" the suppression of such combination. Forty-six years later, Attorney General Cushing advised President Pierce that in enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, marshals of the United States had authority when opposed by unlawful combinations to summon to their aid not only bystanders and citizens generally, but armed forces within their precincts, both state militia and United States officers, soldiers, sailors, and marines, a doctrine that Pierce himself improved upon two years later by asserting, with reference to the civil war then raging in Kansas, that it lay within his obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed to place the forces of the United States in Kansas at the disposal of the marshal there, to be used as a portion of the posse comitatus. Lincoln's call of April 15, 1861, for 75,000 volunteers was, on the other hand, a fresh invocation, though of course on a vastly magnified scale, of Jefferson's conception of a posse comitatus subject to presidential call. The provisions above extracted from the United States Code ratified this conception as regards the state militias and the national forces.
Suspension of Habeas Corpus by the President
See Article I, § 9.
Preventive Martial Law
The question of executive power in the presence of civil disorder is dealt with in modern terms in Moyer v. Peabody, to which the Debs case may be regarded as an addendum. Moyer, a labor leader, brought suit against Peabody for having ordered his arrest during a labor dispute which occurred while Peabody was governor of Colorado. Speaking for a unanimous Court, one Justice being absent, Justice Holmes said: "Of course the plaintiff's position is that he has been deprived of his liberty without due process of law. But it is familiar that what is due process of law depends on circumstances. It varies with the subject matter and the necessities of the situation.... The facts that we are to assume are that a state of insurrection existed and that the Governor, without sufficient reason but in good faith, in the course of putting the insurrection down held the plaintiff until he thought that he safely could release him."
". . . In such a situation we must assume that he had a right under the state constitution and laws to call out troops, as was held by the Supreme Court of the State.... That means that he shall make the ordinary use of the soldiers to that end; that he may kill persons who resist and, of course, that he may use the milder measure of seizing the bodies of those whom he considers to stand in the way of restoring peace. Such arrests are not necessarily for punishment, but are by way of precaution to prevent the exercise of hostile power. So long as such arrests are made in good faith and in the honest belief that they are needed in order to head the insurrection off, the Governor is the final judge and cannot be subjected to an action after he is out of office on the ground for his belief."
". . . When it comes to a decision by the head of the State upon a matter involving its life, the ordinary rights of individuals must yield to what he deems the necessities of the moment. Public danger warrants the substitution of executive process for judicial process."
The Debs Case.-The Debs case of 1895 arose out of a railway strike which had caused the President to dispatch troops to Chicago the previous year. Coincidentally with this move, the United States district attorney stationed there, acting upon orders from Washington, obtained an injunction from the United States circuit court forbidding the strike because of its interference with the mails and with interstate commerce. The question before the Supreme Court was whether this injunction, for violation of which Debs had been jailed for contempt of court, had been granted with jurisdiction. Conceding, in effect, that there was no statutory warrant for the injunction, the Court nevertheless validated it on the ground that the Government was entitled thus to protect its property in the mails, and on a much broader ground which is stated in the following passage of Justice Brewer's opinion for the Court: "Every government, entrusted, by the very terms of its being, with powers and duties to be exercised and discharged for the general welfare, has a right to apply to its own courts for any proper assistance in the exercise of the one and the discharge of the other.... While it is not the province of the Government to interfere in any mere matter of private controversy between individuals, or to use its granted powers to enforce the rights of one against another, yet, whenever the wrongs complained of are such as affect the public at large, and are in respect of matters which by the Constitution are entrusted to the care of the Nation and concerning which the Nation owes the duty to all the citizens of securing to them their common rights, then the mere fact that the Government has no pecuniary interest in the controversy is not sufficient to exclude it from the courts, or prevent it from taking measures therein to fully discharge those constitutional duties."
Present Status of the Debs Case.-Insofar as the use of injunctive relief in labor disputes is concerned, enactment of the Norris-LaGuardia Act placed substantial restrictions on the power of federal courts to issue injunctions in such situations. Though, in United States v. UMW, the Court held that the Norris-LaGuardia Act did not apply where the Government brought suit as operator of mines, language in the opinion appeared to go a good way toward repudiating the present viability of Debs, though more in terms of congressional limitations than of revised judicial opinion. It should be noted that in 1947 Congress authorized the President to seek injunctive relief in "national emergency" labor disputes, which would seem to imply absence of authority to act in situations not meeting the statutory definition.
With regard to the power of the President to seek injunctive relief in other situations without statutory authority, there is no clear precedent. In New York Times Co. v. United States, the Government sought to enjoin two newspapers from publishing classified material given to them by a dissident former governmental employee. Though the Supreme Court rejected the Government's claim, five of the six majority Justices relied on First Amendment grounds, apparently assuming basic power to bring the action in the first place, and three dissenters were willing to uphold the constitutionality of the Government's action and its basic power on the premise that the President was authorized to protect the secrecy of governmental documents. Only one Justice denied expressly that power was lacking altogether to sue.
The Presidents Duty in Cases of Domestic Violence in the States
See Article IV, § 4, Guarantee of Republican Form of Government , and discussion of "Martial Law and Domestic Disorder " under Article II, § 2, cl. 1.
The President as Executor of the Law of Nations
Illustrative of the President's duty to discharge the responsibilities of the United States in international law with a view to avoiding difficulties with other governments was the action of President Wilson in closing the Marconi Wireless Station at Siasconset, Massachusetts, on the outbreak of the European War in 1914, the company having refused assurance that it would comply with naval censorship regulations. Justifying this drastic invasion of private rights, Attorney General Gregory said: "The President of the United States is at the head of one of the three great coordinate departments of the Government. He is Commander in Chief of the Army and the Navy. . . . If the President is of the opinion that the relations of this country with foreign nations are, or are likely to be endangered by action deemed by him inconsistent with a due neutrality, it is his right and duty to protect such relations; and in doing so, in the absence of any statutory restrictions, he may act through such executive office or department as appears best adapted to effectuate the desired end.... I do not hesitate, in view of the extraordinary conditions existing, to advise that the President, through the Secretary of the Navy or any appropriate department, close down, or take charge of and operate, the plant . . . should he deem it necessary in securing obedience to his proclamation of neutrality."
Protection of American Rights of Person and Property Abroad
In 1854, one Lieutenant Hollins, in command of a United States warship, bombarded the town of Greytown, Nicaragua because of the refusal of local authorities to pay reparations for an attack by a mob on the United States consul. Upon his return to the United States, Hollins was sued in a federal court by Durand for the value of certain property which was alleged to have been destroyed in the bombardment. His defense was based upon the orders of the President and Secretary of the Navy and was sustained by Justice Nelson, on circuit. "As the Executive head of the nation, the President is made the only legitimate organ of the General Government, to open and carry on correspondence or negotiations with foreign nations, in matters concerning the interests of the country or of its citizens. It is to him, also, the citizens abroad must look for protection of person and of property, and for the faithful execution of the laws existing and intended for their protection. For this purpose, the whole Executive power of the country is placed in his hands, under the Constitution, and the laws passed in pursuance thereof; and different Departments of government have been organized, through which this power may be most conveniently executed, whether by negotiation or by force-a Department of State and a Department of the Navy."
"Now, as it respects the interposition of the Executive abroad, for the protection of the lives or property of the citizen, the duty must, of necessity, rest in the discretion of the President. Acts of lawless violence, or of threatened violence to the citizen or his property, cannot be anticipated and provided for; and the protection, to be effectual or of any avail, may, not unfrequently, require the most prompt and decided action. Under our system of Government, the citizen abroad is as much entitled to protection as the citizen at home. The great object and duty of Government is the protection of the lives, liberty, and property of the people composing it, whether abroad or at home; and any Government failing in the accomplishment of the object, or the performance of the duty, is not worth preserving."
This incident and this case were but two items in the 19th century advance of the concept that the President had the duty and the responsibility to protect American lives and property abroad through the use of armed forces if deemed necessary. The duty could be said to grow out of the inherent powers of the Chief Executive or perhaps out of his obligation to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Although there were efforts made at times to limit this presidential power narrowly to the protection of persons and property rather than to the promotion of broader national interests, no such distinction was observed in practice and so grew the concepts which have become the source of serious national controversy in the 1960s and 1970s, the power of the President to use troops abroad to observe national commitments and protect the national interest without seeking prior approval from Congress.
Congress and the President versus Foreign Expropriation
Congress has asserted itself in one area of protection of United States property abroad, making provision against uncompensated expropriation of property belonging to United States citizens and corporations. The problem of expropriation of foreign property and the compensation to be paid therefor remains an unsettled area of international law, of increasing importance because of the changes and unsettled conditions following World War II. It has been the position of the Executive Branch that just compensation is owed all United States property owners dispossessed in foreign countries and the many pre-World War II disputes were carried on between the President and the Department of State and the nation involved. But commencing with the Marshall Plan in 1948, Congress has enacted programs of guaranties to American investors in specified foreign countries. More relevant to discussion here is that Congress has attached to United States foreign assistance programs various amendments requiring the termination of assistance and imposing other economic inducements where uncompensated expropriations have been instituted. And when the Supreme Court in 1964 applied the "act of state" doctrine so as not to examine the validity of a taking of property by a foreign government recognized by the United States but to defer to the decision of the foreign government, Congress reacted by attaching another amendment to the foreign assistance act reversing the Court's application of the doctrine, except in certain circumstances, a reversal which was applied on remand of the case.
Presidential Action in the Domain of Congress: the Steel Seizure Case
To avert a nationwide strike of steel workers which he believed would jeopardize the national defense, President Truman, on April 8, 1952, issued an executive order directing the Secretary of Commerce to seize and operate most of the steel industry of the country. The order cited no specific statutory authorization but invoked generally the powers vested in the President by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The Secretary issued the appropriate orders to steel executives. The President promptly reported his action to Congress, conceding Congress' power to supercede his order, but Congress did not do so, either then or a few days later when the President sent up a special message. On suit by the steel companies, a federal district court enjoined the seizure, and the Supreme Court brought the case up prior to decision by the court of appeals. Six-to-three, the Court affirmed the district court order, each member of the majority, however, contributing an individual opinion as well as joining in some degree the opinion of the Court by Justice Black. The holding and the multiple opinions represent a setback for the adherents of "inherent" executive powers, but they raise difficult conceptual and practical problems with regard to presidential powers.
The Doctrine of the Opinion of the Court
The chief points urged in the Black opinion are the following: There was no statute that expressly or impliedly authorized the President to take possession of the property involved. On the contrary, in its consideration of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, Congress refused to authorize governmental seizures of property as a method of preventing work stoppages and settling labor disputes. Authority to issue such an order in the circumstances of the case was not deducible from the aggregate of the President's executive powers under Article II of the Constitution; nor was the order maintainable as an exercise of the President's powers as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The power sought to be exercised was the lawmaking power, which the Constitution vests in the Congress alone. Even if it were true that other Presidents have taken possession of private business enterprises without congressional authority in order to settle labor disputes, Congress was not thereby divested of its exclusive constitutional authority to make the laws necessary and proper to carry out all powers vested by the Constitution "in the Government of the United States, or any Department or Officer thereof."
The Doctrine Considered
The pivotal proposition of the opinion of the Court is that, inasmuch as Congress could have directed the seizure of the steel mills, the President had no power to do so without prior congressional authorization. To this reasoning, not only the dissenters but Justice Clark would not concur, and in fact they stated baldly that the reasoning was contradicted by precedent, both judicial and presidential and congressional practice. One of the earliest pronouncements on presidential power in this area was that of Chief Justice Marshall in Little v. Barreme. There, a United States vessel under orders from the President had seized a United States merchant ship bound from a French port allegedly carrying contraband material; Congress had, however, provided for seizure only of such vessels bound to French ports. Said the Chief Justice: "It is by no means clear that the president of the United States whose high duty it is to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed,' and who is commander in chief of the armies and navies of the United States, might not, without any special authority for that purpose in the then existing state of things, have empowered the officers commanding the armed vessels of the United States, to seize and send into port for adjudication, American vessels which were forfeited by being engaged in this illicit commerce. But when it is observed that [an act of Congress] gives a special authority to seize on the high seas, and limits that authority to the seizure of vessels bound or sailing to a French port, the legislature seems to have prescribed that the manner in which this law shall be carried into execution, was to exclude a seizure of any vessel not bound to a French port."
Other examples are at hand. In 1799, President Adams, in order to execute the extradition provisions of the Jay Treaty, issued a warrant for the arrest of one Robbins and the action was challenged in Congress on the ground that no statutory authority existed by which the President could act; John Marshall defended the action in the House of Representatives, the practice continued, and it was not until 1848 that Congress enacted a statute governing this subject. Again, in 1793, President Washington issued a neutrality proclamation; the following year, Congress enacted the first neutrality statute and since then proclamations of neutrality have been based on acts of Congress. Repeatedly, acts of the President have been in areas in which Congress could act as well.
Justice Frankfurter's concurring opinion listed 18 statutory authorizations for seizures of industrial property, all but one of which were enacted between 1916 and 1951, and summaries of seizures of industrial plants and facilities by Presidents without definite statutory warrant, eight of which occurred during World War I, justified in the presidential orders as being done pursuant to "the Constitution and laws" generally, and eleven of which occurred in World War II. The first such seizure in this period had been justified by then Attorney General Jackson as being based upon an "aggregate" of presidential powers stemming from his duty to see the laws faithfully executed, his commander-in-chiefship, and his general executive powers. Chief Justice Vinson's dissent dwelt liberally upon this opinion, which reliance drew a disclaimer from Justice Jackson, concurring.
The dissent was also fortunate in that the steel companies' chief counsel, John W. Davis, a former Solicitor General of the United States, had filed a brief in 1914 in defense of Presidential action, which had taken precisely the view that the dissent now presented. "Ours," the brief read, "is a self-sufficient Government within its sphere. (Ex parte Siebold, 100 U.S. 371 , 395 ; In re Debs, 158 U.S. 564 , 578 .) 'Its means are adequate to its ends' (McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat., 316, 424), and it is rational to assume that its active forces will be found equal in most things to the emergencies that confront it. While perfect flexibility is not to be expected in a Government of divided powers, and while division of power is one of the principal features of the Constitution, it is the plain duty of those who are called upon to draw the dividing lines to ascertain the essential, recognize the practical, and avoid a slavish formalism which can only serve to ossify the Government and reduce its efficiency without any compensating good. The function of making laws is peculiar to Congress, and the Executive can not exercise that function to any degree. But this is not to say that all of the subjects concerning which laws might be made are perforce removed from the possibility of Executive influence. The Executive may act upon things and upon men in many relations which have not, though they might have, been actually regulated by Congress. In other words, just as there are fields which are peculiar to Congress and fields which are peculiar to the Executive, so there are fields which are common to both, in the sense that the Executive may move within them until they shall have been occupied by legislative action. These are not the fields of legislative prerogative, but fields within which the lawmaking powers may enter and dominate whenever it chooses. This situation results from the fact that the President is the active agent, not of Congress, but of the Nation. As such he performs the duties which the Constitution lays upon him immediately, and as such, also, he executes the laws and regulations adopted by Congress. He is the agent of the people of the United States, deriving all his powers from them and responsible directly to them. In no sense is he the agent of Congress. He obeys and executes the laws of Congress, but because Congress is enthroned in authority over him, not because the Constitution directs him to do so."
"Therefore it follows that in ways short of making laws or disobeying them, the Executive may be under a grave constitutional duty to act for the national protection in situations not covered by the acts of Congress, and in which, even, it may not be said that his action is the direct expression of any particular one of the independent powers which are granted to him specifically by the Constitution. Instances wherein the President has felt and fulfilled such a duty have not been rare in our history, though, being for the public benefit and approved by all, his acts have seldom been challenged in the courts."
Power Denied by Congress
Justice Black's opinion of the Court in Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer notes that Congress had refused to give the President seizure authority and had authorized other actions, which had not been taken. This statement led him to conclude merely that, since the power claimed did not stem from Congress, it had to be found in the Constitution. But four of the concurring Justices made considerably more of the fact that Congress had considered seizure and had refused to authorize it. Justice Frankfurter stated: "We must . . . put to one side consideration of what powers the President would have had if there had been no legislation whatever bearing on the authority asserted by the seizure, or if the seizure had been only for a short, explicitly temporary period, to be terminated automatically unless Congressional approval were given." He then reviewed the proceedings of Congress that attended the enactment of the Taft-Hartley Act and concluded that "Congress has expressed its will to withhold this power [of seizure] from the President as though it had said so in so many words."
Justice Jackson attempted a schematic representation of presidential powers, which "are not fixed but fluctuate, depending upon their disjunction or conjunction with those of Congress." Thus, there are essentially three possibilities. "1. When the President acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress, his authority is at its maximum, for it includes all that he possess in his own right plus all that Congress can delegate.... 2. When the President acts in absence of either a congressional grant or denial of authority, he can only rely upon his own independent powers, but there is a zone of twilight in which he and Congress may have concurrent authority, or in which its distribution is uncertain.... 3. When the President takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress, his power is at its lowest ebb, for then he can rely only upon his own constitutional powers minus any constitutional powers of Congress over the matter. Courts can sustain exclusive presidential control in such a case only by disabling the Congress from acting upon the subject." The seizure in question was placed in the third category "because Congress has not left seizure of private property an open field but has covered it by three statutory policies inconsistent with this seizure." Therefore, "we can sustain the President only by holding that seizure of such strike-bound industries is within his domain and beyond control by Congress." That holding was not possible.
Justice Burton, referring to the Taft-Hartley Act, said that "the most significant feature of that Act is its omission of authority to seize," citing debate on the measure to show that the omission was a conscious decision. Justice Clark placed his reliance on Little v. Barreme, inasmuch as Congress had laid down specific procedures for the President to follow, which he had declined to follow.
Despite the opinion of the Court, therefore, it seems clear that four of the six Justices in the majority were more moved by the fact that the President had acted in a manner considered and rejected by Congress in a field in which Congress was empowered to establish the rules, rules the President is to see faithfully executed, than with the fact that the President's action was a form of "lawmaking" in a field committed to the province of Congress. The opinion of the Court, therefore, and its doctrinal implications must be considered with care, inasmuch as it is doubtful that that opinion does lay down a constitutional rule. Whatever the implications of the opinions of the individual Justices for the doctrine of "inherent" presidential powers-and they are significant-the implications for the area here under consideration are cloudy and have remained so from the time of the decision.
Presidential Immunity from Judicial Direction
By the decision of the Court in Mississippi v. Johnson, in 1867, the President was placed beyond the reach of judicial direction, either affirmative or restraining, in the exercise of his powers, whether constitutional or statutory, political or otherwise, save perhaps for what must be a small class of powers that are purely ministerial. An application for an injunction to forbid President Johnson to enforce the Reconstruction Acts, on the ground of their unconstitutionality, was answered by Attorney General Stanberg, who argued, inter alia, the absolute immunity of the President from judicial process. The Court refused to permit the filing, using language construable as meaning that the President was not reachable by judicial process but which more fully paraded the horrible consequences were the Court to act. First noting the limited meaning of the term "ministerial," the Court observed that "[v]ery different is the duty of the President in the exercise of the power to see that the laws are faithfully executed, and among these laws the acts named in the bill....
The duty thus imposed on the President is in no just sense ministerial. It is purely executive and political."
"An attempt on the part of the judicial department of the government to enforce the performance of such duties by the President might be justly characterized, in the language of Chief Justice Marshall, as 'an absurd and excessive extravagance."'
"It is true that in the instance before us the interposition of the court is not sought to enforce action by the Executive under constitutional legislation, but to restrain such action under legislation alleged to be unconstitutional. But we are unable to perceive that this circumstance takes the case out of the general principles which forbid judicial interference with the exercise of Executive discretion."
"The Congress is the legislative department of the government; the President is the executive department. Neither can be restrained in its action by the judicial department; though the acts of both, when performed, are, in proper cases, subject to its cognizance."
"The impropriety of such interference will be clearly seen upon consideration of its possible consequences."
"Suppose the bill filed and the injunction prayed for allowed. If the President refuse obedience, it is needless to observe that the court is without power to enforce its process. If, on the other hand, the President complies with the order of the court and refuses to execute the acts of Congress, is it not clear that a collision may occur between the executive and legislative departments of the government? May not the House of Representatives impeach the President for such refusal? And in that case could this court interfere, in behalf of the President, thus endangered by compliance with its mandate, and restrain by injunction the Senate of the United States from sitting as a court of impeachment? Would the strange spectacle be offered to the public world of an attempt by this court to arrest proceedings in that court?"
Rare has been the opportunity for the Court to elucidate its opinion in Mississippi v. Johnson, and, in the Watergate tapes case, it held the President amenable to subpoena to produce evidence for use in a criminal case without dealing, except obliquely, with its prior opinion. The President's counsel had argued the President was immune to judicial process, claiming "that the independence of the Executive Branch within its own sphere . . . insulates a President from a judicial subpoena in an ongoing criminal prosecution, and thereby protects confidential Presidential communications." However, the Court held, "neither the doctrine of separation of powers, nor the need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances." The primary constitutional duty of the courts "to do justice in criminal prosecutions" was a critical counterbalance to the claim of presidential immunity, and to accept the President's argument would disturb the separation-of-powers function of achieving "a workable government" as well as "gravely impair the role of the courts under Art. III."
Present throughout the Watergate crisis, and unresolved by it, was the question of the amenability of the President to criminal prosecution prior to conviction upon impeachment. It was argued that the impeachment clause necessarily required indictment and trial in a criminal proceeding to follow a successful impeachment and that a President in any event was uniquely immune from indictment, and these arguments were advanced as one ground to deny enforcement of the subpoenas running to the President. Assertion of the same argument by Vice President Agnew was controverted by the Government, through the Solicitor General, but, as to the President, it was argued that for a number of constitutional and practical reasons he was not subject to ordinary criminal process.
Finally, most recently, the Court has definitively resolved one of the intertwined issues of presidential accountability. The President is absolutely immune in actions for civil damages for all acts within the "outer perimeter" of his official duties. The Court's close decision was premised on the President's "unique position in the constitutional scheme," that is, it was derived from the Court's inquiry of a "kind of 'public policy' analysis" of the "policies and principles that may be considered implicit in the nature of the President's office in a system structured to achieve effective government under a constitutionally mandated separation of powers." While the Constitution expressly afforded Members of Congress immunity in matters arising from "speech or debate," and while it was silent with respect to presidential immunity, the Court nonetheless considered such immunity "a functionally mandated incident of the President's unique office, rooted in the constitutional tradition of the separation of powers and supported by our history." Although the Court relied in part upon its previous practice of finding immunity for officers, such as judges, as to whom the Constitution is silent, although a long common-law history exists, and in part upon historical evidence, which it admitted was fragmentary and ambiguous, the Court's principal focus was upon the fact that the President was distinguishable from all other executive officials. He is charged with a long list of "supervisory and policy responsibilities of utmost discretion and sensitivity," and diversion of his energies by concerns with private lawsuits would "raise unique risks to the effective functioning of government." Moreover, the presidential privilege is rooted in the separation-of-powers doctrine, counseling courts to tread carefully before intruding. Some interests are important enough to require judicial action; "merely private suit[s] for damages based on a President's official acts" do not serve this "broad public interest" necessitating the courts to act. Finally, qualified immunity would not adequately protect the President, because judicial inquiry into a functional analysis of his actions would bring with it the evil immunity was to prevent; absolute immunity was required.
In Clinton v. Jones, the Court, in a case of first impression, held that the President did not have qualified immunity from suit for conduct alleged to have taken place prior to his election to the Presidency, which would entitle him to delay of both the trial and discovery. The Court held that its precedents affording the President immunity from suit for his official conduct - primarily on the basis that he should be enabled to perform his duties effectively without fear that a particular decision might give rise to personal liability - were inapplicable in this kind of case. Moreover, the separation-of-powers doctrine did not require a stay of all private actions against the President. Separation of powers is preserved by guarding against the encroachment or aggrandizement of one of the coequal branches of the Government at the expense of another. However, a federal trial court tending to a civil suit in which the President is a party performs only its judicial function, not a function of another branch. No decision by a trial court could curtail the scope of the President's powers. The trial court, the Supreme Court observed, had sufficient powers to accommodate the President's schedule and his workload, so as not to impede the President's performance of his duties. Finally, the Court stated its belief that allowing such suits to proceed would not generate a large volume of politically motivated harassing and frivolous litigation. Congress has the power, the Court advised, if it should think necessary to legislate, to afford the President protection.
The President's Subordinates
While the courts may be unable to compel the President to act or to prevent him from acting, his acts, when performed, are in proper cases subject to judicial review and disallowance. Typically, the subordinates through whom he acts may be sued, in a form of legal fiction, to enjoin the commission of acts which might lead to irreparable damage or to compel by writ of mandamus the performance of a duty definitely required by law, such suits being usually brought in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. In suits under the common law, a subordinate executive officer may be held personally liable in damages for any act done in excess of authority, although immunity exists for anything, even malicious wrongdoing, done in the course of his duties.
Different rules prevail when such an official is sued for a "constitutional tort" for wrongs allegedly in violation of our basic charter, although the Court has hinted that in some "sensitive" areas officials acting in the "outer perimeter" of their duties may be accorded an absolute immunity from liability. Jurisdiction to reach such officers for acts for which they can be held responsible must be under the general "federal question" jurisdictional statute, which, as recently amended, requires no jurisdictional amount.
The power to commission officers, as applied in practice, does not mean that the President is under constitutional obligation to commission those whose appointments have reached that stage, but merely that it is he and no one else who has the power to commission them, and that he may do so at his discretion. Under the doctrine of Marbury v. Madison, the sealing and delivery of the commission is a purely ministerial act which has been lodged by statute with the Secretary of State, and which may be compelled by mandamus unless the appointee has been in the meantime validly removed. By an opinion of the Attorney General many years later, however, the President, even after he has signed a commission, still has a locus poenitentiae and may withhold it; nor is the appointee in office till he has this commission. This is probably the correct doctrine.
N. SMALL, SOME PRESIDENTIAL INTERPRETATIONS OF THE PRESIDENCY (1932); W. BINKLEY, THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS (2d ed. 1962); E. Corwin, supra, chs. 1, 7.
The first Harrison, Polk, Taylor, and Fillmore all fathered sentiments to this general effect. See 4 J. Richardson, supra at 1860, 1864; 6 id. at 2513-19, 2561- 62, 2608, 2615.
See sources cited supra.
Warren, Presidential Declarations of Independence, 10 B.U.L. REV. 1 (1930); 3 W. Willoughby, supra at 1488-1492.
7 Ops. Atty. Gen. 186, 209 (1855).
5 J. MOORE, INTERNATIONAL LAW DIGEST 15-19 (1906).
Id. at 4:473-548; 5:19-32.
Opinion on the Question Whether the Senate Has the Right to Negative the Grade of Persons Appointed by the Executive to Fill Foreign Missions, April 24, 1790, 5 WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 161, 162 (P. Ford ed., 1895).
4 J. Moore, supra at 680-81.
This measure is now contained in 18 U.S.C. § 953.
See Memorandum on the History and Scope of the Law Prohibiting Correspondence with a Foreign Government, S. Doc. No. 696, 64th Congress, 2d Sess. (1917). The author was Mr. Charles Warren, then Assistant Attorney General. Further details concerning the observance of the "Logan Act" are given in E. Corwin, supra at 183-84, 430-31.
10 ANNALS OF CONGRESS 596, 613-14 (1800). Marshall's statement is often cited, e.g., United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., 299 U.S. 304 , 318 , 319 (1936), as if he were claiming sole or inherent executive power in foreign relations, but Marshall carefully propounded the view that Congress could provide the rules underlying the President's duty to extradite. When, in 1848, Congress did enact such a statute, the Court sustained it. Fong Yue Ting v. United States, 149 U.S. 698 , 714 (1893).
S. Doc. No. 56, 54th Congress, 2d Sess. (1897).
1 LETTERS AND OTHER WRITINGS OF JAMES MADISON 611 (1865).
No. 69 (J. Cooke ed. 1961), 468.
Letter of Pacificus, No. 1, 7 WORKS OF ALEXANDER HAMILTON 76, 82-83 (J. Hamilton ed., 1851).
4 J. Moore, supra at 680-81.
Letters of Helvidius, 5 WRITINGS OF JAMES MADISON 133 (G. Hunt ed., 1905).
1 J. Moore, supra, 243-44. See Restatement, Foreign Relations §§ 204, 205.
S. Doc. No. 56, 54th Congress, 2d Sess. (1897), 20-22.
Said Senator Nelson of Minnesota: "The President has asked us to give him the right to make war to expel the Spaniards from Cuba. He has asked us to put that power in his hands; and when we are asked to grant that power-the highest power given under the Constitution-we have the right, the intrinsic right, vested in us by the Constitution, to say how and under what conditions and with what allies that war-making power shall be exercised." 31 CONG. REC. 3984 (1898).
President Carter's termination of the Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan, which precipitated a constitutional and political debate, was perhaps an example of nonrecognition or more appropriately derecognition. On recognition and nonrecognition policies in the post-World War II era, see Restatement, Foreign Relations, §§ 202, 203.
1 MESSAGES AND PAPERS OF WOODROW WILSON 58 (A. Shaw ed., 1924).
55 Stat. 31 (1941).
E. Corwin, supra at 184-93, 423-25, 435-36.
Legislation includes the War Powers Resolution, P.L. 93-148, 87 Stat. 555 (1953), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1541-1548; the National Emergencies Act, P.L. 94-412, 90 Stat. 1255 (1976), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1601-1651 (establishing procedures for presidential declaration and continuation of national emergencies and providing for a bicameral congressional veto); the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, P.L. 95-223, 91 Stat. 1626 (1977), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1701- 1706 (limiting the great economic powers conferred on the President by the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, 40 Stat. 415, 50 U.S.C. App.§ 5(b), to times of declared war, and providing new and more limited powers, with procedural restraints, for nonwartime emergencies); and see the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976, P.L. 94-583, 90 Stat. 2891, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1330, 1602-1611 (removing from executive control decisions concerning the liability of foreign sovereigns to suit).
"We may say that power to legislate for emergencies belongs in the hands of Congress, but only Congress itself can prevent power from slipping through its fingers." Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 , 654 (1952) (Justice Jackson concurring). For an account of how the President usually prevails, see H. KOH, THE NATIONAL SECURITY CONSTITUTION: SHARING POWER AFTER THE IRANCONTRA AFFAIRS (1990).
27 U. S. (2 Pet.) 253 (1829).
27 U.S. at 308.
38 U.S. (13 Pet.) 415 (1839).
38 U.S. at 420.
Foster v. Neilson, 27 U.S. (2 Pet.) 253 (1829).
Williams v. Suffolk Ins. Co., 38 U.S. (13 Pet.) 415 (1839).
United States v. Palmer, 16 U.S. (3 Wheat.) 610 (1818).
Doe v. Braden, 57 U.S. (16 How.) 635 , 657 (1853).
Jones v. United States, 137 U.S. 202 (1890); Oetjen v. Central Leather Co., 246 U.S. 297 (1918).
In re Baiz, 135 U.S. 403 (1890).
Neely v. Henkel, 180 U.S. 109 (1901).
Terlinden v. Ames, 184 U.S. 270 (1902); Charlton v. Kelly, 229 U.S. 447 (1913).
333 U.S. 103 (1948).
333 U.S. at 111. See also Oetjen v. Central Leather Co., 246 U.S. 297 (1918); Ricaud v. American Metal Co., 246 U. S. 304 (1918). Analogous to and arising out of the same considerations as the political question doctrine is the "act of state" doctrine under which United States courts will not examine the validity of the public acts of foreign governments done within their own territory, typically, but not always, in disputes arising out of nationalizations. E. g., Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U.S. 250 (1897); Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino, 376 U.S. 398 (1964); First National City Bank v. Banco Nacional de Cuba, 406 U.S. 759 (1972); Alfred Dunhill of London, Inc. v. Republic of Cuba, 425 U.S. 682 (1976). For succinct analysis of this amorphous doctrine, see Restatement, Foreign Relations, §§ 443-44. Congress has limited the reach of the doctrine in foreign expropriation cases by the Hickenlooper Amendments. 22 U.S.C. § 2370(e)(2). Consider, also, Dames & Moore v. Regan, 453 U.S. 654 (1981). Similar, also, is the doctrine of sovereign immunity of foreign states in United States courts, under which jurisdiction over the foreign state, at least after 1952, turned upon the suggestion of the Department of State as to the applicability of the doctrine. See Alfred Dunhill of London v. Republic of Cuba, 425 U.S. at 698-706 (plurality opinion), but see id. at 725-28 (Justice Marshall dissenting). For the period prior to 1952, see Z. & F. Assets Corp. v. Hull, 311 U.S. 470 , 487 (1941). Congress in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976, P.L. 94-583, 90 Stat. 2891, 28 U.S. C. §§ 1330, 1332(a)(2)(3)(4), 1391(f), 1441(d), 1602-1611, provided for judicial determination of applicability of the doctrine but did adopt the executive position with respect to no applicability for commercial actions of a foreign state. E.g., Verlinden B. V. v. Central Bank of Nigeria, 461 U.S. 480 (1983); Argentine Republic v. Amerada Hess Shipping Corp., 488 U.S. 428 (1989). See Restatement, Foreign Relations, §§ 451-63 (including Introductory Note, pp. 390-396).
335 U.S. 160 (1948).
335 U.S. at 167, 170. Four Justices dissented, by Justice Black, who said: "The Court . . . holds, as I understand its opinion, that the Attorney General can deport him whether he is dangerous or not. The effect of this holding is that any unnaturalized person, good or bad, loyal or disloyal to this country, if he was a citizen of Germany before coming here, can be summarily seized, interned and deported from the United States by the Attorney General, and that no court of the United States has any power whatever to review, modify, vacate, reverse, or in any manner affect the Attorney General's deportation order.... I think the idea that we are still at war with Germany in the sense contemplated by the statute controlling here is a pure fiction. Furthermore, I think there is no act of Congress which lends the slightest basis to the claim that after hostilities with a foreign country have ended the President or the Attorney General, one or both, can deport aliens without a fair hearing reviewable in the courts. On the contrary, when this very question came before Congress after World War I in the interval between the Armistice and the conclusion of formal peace with Germany, Congress unequivocally required that enemy aliens be given a fair hearing before they could be deported." Id. at 174-75. See also Woods v. Miller Co., 333 U.S. 138 (1948), where the continuation of rent control under the Housing and Rent Act of 1947, enacted after the termination of hostilities, was unanimously held to be a valid exercise of the war power, but the constitutional question raised was asserted to be a proper one for the Court. Said Justice Jackson, in a concurring opinion: "Particularly when the war power is invoked to do things to the liberties of people, or to their property or economy that only indirectly affect conduct of the war and do not relate to the management of the war itself, the constitutional basis should be scrutinized with care." Id. at 146-47.
369 U.S. 186 (1962).
369 U.S. at 217.
369 U.S. at 211-12. A case involving "a purely legal question of statutory interpretation" is not a political question simply because the issues have significant political and foreign relations overtones. Japan Whaling Ass'n v. American Cetacean Society, 478 U.S. 221 , 229 -230 (1986) (Fisherman's Protective Act does not completely remove Secretary of Commerce's discretion in certifying that foreign nationals are "diminishing the effectiveness of" an international agreement by taking whales in violation of quotas set pursuant to the agreement).
Goldwater v.Carter, 444 U.S. 996 , 1002 -06 (Justices Rehnquist, Stewart, and Stevens and Chief Justice Burger). The doctrine was applied in just such a dispute in Dole v. Carter, 569 F.2d 1109 (10th Cir. 1977).
"Matters intimately related to foreign policy and national security are rarely proper subjects for judicial intervention." Haig v. Agee, 453 U.S. 280 , 292 (1981). See also Dames & Moore v. Regan, 453 U.S. 654 , 688 (1981); Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57 , 64 -68 (1981); Greer v. Spock, 424 U.S. 828 , 837 - 838 (1976); Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733 , 756 , 758 (1974); Harisiades v. Shaughnessy, 342 U.S. 580 , 589 (1952). Neither may private claimants seek judicial review of executive actions denying constitutional rights "in such sensitive areas as national security and foreign policy" in suits for damages against offending officials, inasmuch as the President is absolutely immune, Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 731 (1982), and the Court has strongly hinted that in these areas the immunity of presidential aides and other executive officials "entrusted with discretionary authority" will be held to be absolute rather than qualified. Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 , 812 -13 (1982).
Notice that in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555 , 576 -78 (1992), the Court purported to draw from the "take care" clause the principle that Congress could not authorize citizens with only generalized grievances to sue to compel governmental compliance with the law, inasmuch as permitting that would be "to permit Congress to transfer from the President to the courts the Chief Executive's most important constitutional duty, to 'take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."' Id. at 577.
7 Ops. Atty. Gen. 453, 464-65 (1855).
Cf. 2 Stat. 78. The provision has long since dropped out of the statute book.
Runkle v. United States, 122 U.S. 543 (1887).
Cf. In re Chapman, 166 U.S. 661 , 670 -671 (1897), where it was held that presumptions in favor of official action "preclude collateral attack on the sentences of courts-martial." See also United States v. Fletcher, 148 U.S. 84 , 88 -89 (1893); Bishop v. United States, 197 U.S. 334 , 341 -342 (1905), both of which in effect repudiate Runkle.
The President, in the exercise of his executive power under the Constitution, "speaks and acts through the heads of the several departments in relation to subjects which appertain to their respective duties." The heads of the departments are his authorized assistants in the performance of his executive duties, and their official acts, promulgated in the regular course of business, are presumptively his acts. Wilcox v. McConnel, 38 U.S. (13 Pet.) 498 , 513 (1839). See also United States v. Eliason, 41 U.S. (16 Pet.) 291 (1842); Williams v. United States, 42 U.S. (1 How.) 290 , 297 (1843); United States v. Jones, 59 U.S. (18 How.) 92 , 95 (1856); The Confiscation Cases, 87 U.S. (20 Wall.) 92 (1874); United States v. Farden, 99 U.S. 10 (1879); Wolsey v. Chapman, 101 U.S. 755 (1880).
42 U.S. (1 How.) 290 (1843).
3 Stat. 723 (1823), now covered in 31 U.S.C. § 3324.
42 U.S. (1 How.) at 297-98.
38 Ops. Atty. Gen. 457, 458 (1936). And, of course, if the President exercises his duty through subordinates, he must appoint them or appoint the officers who appoint them, Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U. S. 1, 109-143 (1976), and he must have the power to discharge those officers in the Executive Branch, Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926), although the Court has now greatly qualified Myers to permit congressional limits on the removal of some officers. Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 (1988).
1 J. Richardson, supra at 348, 360.
History and law is much discussed in Executive Impoundment of Appropriated Funds: Hearings Before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Separation of Powers, 92d Congress, 1st sess. (1971); Impoundment of Appropriated Funds by the President: Hearings Before the Senate Government Operations Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Impoundment of Funds, 93d Congress, 1st sess. (1973). The most thorough study of the legal and constitutional issues, informed through historical analysis, is Abascal & Kramer,