Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dames & Moore v. Regan case brief

Dames & Moore v. Regan, 453 US 654 (1981).
  • President suspended claims pending in American courts pursuant to the Algiers Accords, a presidential-executive action wherein the US agreed to terminate all legal proceedings in US courts involving claims against Iran
  • How does the president have authority for this?  It is a sole executive agreement (Presidential-executive agreement)
    • there is no congressional authorization for the president’s actions (neither the IEEPA nor the Hostage Act constituted authorization of the president’s actions suspending claims)
    • however, both acts give the president broad discretion in emergency situations (see p. 217), and Congress acquiesced to the President’s action
    • there is a longstanding history of congressional acquiescence, enabling the president to settle claims with foreign states
      • this is why the court believes that the executive agreement was acquiesced to by Congress
  • although the court validated the president’s conduct, the court made clear that it did not give the president a blank check in the exercise of presidential decrees, because neither the IEEPA or the Hostage Act or the executive agreement authorized the settlement in and of themselves – it was the combination of the executive agreement, the acts, and the congressional acquiescence that made the agreement constitutional under the Jackson test
    • so we end up in Jackson’s category 1
    • this is a liberal interpretation of the Jackson framework

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