Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dames & Moore v. Regan case brief summary

Dames & Moore v. Regan case brief summary (1981; US)

Facts: In 1979, the American embassy in Tehran was seized and Americans captured and held hostage. In response to this crisis, President Carter issues an Executive Order, which froze Iranian assets in the United States. Later that year,petitioner Dames & Moore filed suit in CA district court against the gov't ofIran, the Atomic Energy Org. of Iran, and a number of Iranian banks, for servicesalready performed under a K, which Atomic had terminated. District court issued ordered of attachment of D's property, to secure judgment against them. In 1981,the American held hostage were released, pursuant to an agreement that stated that all litigations would be terminated, and to bring about the settlement and terminations of all such claims through binding arbitration. President Carter nullified all rights to Iranian assets, ordered transfer of these assets to Iran,and suspended all claims which may be presented in an International court of justice. Petitioner then filed this action against U.S. seeking injunctive relief, to prevent enforcement of the Executive Orders and the other regulations.

Issue: Whether the executive order was valid.

Answer:  Yes.

Holding: Executive order upheld.

Reasoning: The Court upheld these presidential actions against challenges that they were unauthorized by law. The Court concluded that the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) authorized the president to nullify the attachments and to transfer Iranian assets. It also approved the suspension of claims filed in U.S. courts even though no specific statutory provision authorized that step. In so doing the Court relied on inferences drawn from related legislation, a history of congressional acquiescence in executive claims settlement practices, and past decisions recognizing broad executive authority.This decision has been criticized for applying a too undemanding standard to the question of presidential power, in particular by relying on inferences from statutes that do not directly deal with certain subjects at hand and, especially,on legislative acquiescence in executive activity. On any view, this decision is an important recognition of broad presidential power in foreign relations.

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