Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dames & Moore v. Regan case brief

Dames & Moore v. Regan (S Ct 1981, p. 199)
  • Exec orders to nullify attachments and liens on Iranian assets in the US. US/Iran agreement over hostage crisis (suspended all litigation against Iranians) D & M had a K w/ an Iranian company. objects to the pwr to suspend claims by individuals.
  • IEEPA explicitly authorized the Pres to nullify attachments.
  • Ct says this power of the Pres is ok.
  • This power of the Pres is pretty expansive considering there is a constitutional (fundamental) right to take claims before a court.
  • Both this and Alvarez were decided by Rehnquist. He uses Intl Claims Settlement Act and Prior Ct cases to allow this.
  • Muth: Thinks this decision was appropriate. Best grounds on which it was made were flimsy (past practice; congressional acquiescence). Good decision but not really authorized by any law.
  • Youngstown Case (steel mill case—Truman—Korean War) (p. 203, 207) Three tier approach:
    • When Pres acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization for Congress, he exercises not only his pwrs but those delegated by Congress. (Burden of persuasion on those who would attack this pwr)
    • When the President acts in the absence of Congressional authorization he may enter “a zone of twilight in which he an Congress may have concurrent authority, or in which its distribution is uncertain.” (validity of Pres action hinges on consideration of all of the circumstances including “Congressional inertia, indifference, or acquiescence.”)
    • When the pres acts in contravention of the will of Congress, “his pwr is at its lowest ebb.” (Ct will sustain his actions “only by disabling the congress from acting upon the subject.”)
  • The President here is acting w/o the authority of Congress (2nd tier)

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