Tuesday, April 24, 2012

United States v. Curtiss-Wright Corp. case brief, 299 U.S. 304 (1936)

United States v. Curtiss-Wright Corp., 299 U.S. 304 (1936)

-       Congress enacted a joint resolution delegating to the President the power to prohibit the sale of arms from the US to Bolivia
-       The Constitutional issue in this case was whether there had been an unconstitutional delegation of authority by Congress to the President
-       The opinion begins by assuming that the delegation of authority would have been unconstitutional had the matter been about internal affairs
-       However, because it is about external affairs, it may be ok
-       Why is it significant that the matter is about external affairs?
  • The Constitution gives the federal government certain legislative powers and leaves the rest to the states
  • The powers pertaining to foreign affairs go to the federal government (president and congress); the states could never have these powers because the power to conduct foreign affairs passed directly to the federal government from the Crown; the colonies never possessed the power to conduct foreign affairs severally
  • Additionally, the opinion says that the President is the sole organ of the nation in external relations and its sole representative with foreign nations
-       Was there an unconstitutional delegation of power?
  • NO – because the president has the power to conduct foreign affairs, he has the power to create laws that deal with foreign affairs, regardless of whether Congress gives him their blessing; thus the Congressional authorization was just icing on the cake
Whenever there is a challenge to presidential authority, we are going to assess the validity of the action by using the Jackson test from his concurrence

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