Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bowsher v. Synar case brief summary

Bowsher v. Synar case brief summary (1986)
Budget balancing statute gave Comptroller General certain powers of review over executive branch budget
Constitution does not contemplate an active role for Congress in the supervision of officers charged with the execution of the laws it enacts (only congressional role in removal of executive officers that Const. allows is impeachment process)
CG is only removable by Congress, so is viewed as officer of the legislative branch – allowing CG (legislative officer) to control execution of laws is legislative encroachment on executive (separation of powers violation)
o    CG exercises executive power by exercising independent judgment and evaluation with respect to budget estimates
o    Interpreting and applying congressional act is essence of executive power
Once Congress makes its choice in enacting legislation, its participation ends
Stevens concurrence
o    Congress can’t delegate policymaking power to a smaller part of itself (needs to use b&p)
o    Doesn’t agree that CG necessarily exercises executive power (could be characterized as legislative)
White dissent
o    Not so clear that CG is under legislative control or treading on executive functions.
Blackmun dissent
o    Should find removal powers unconstitutional, not the whole act
o    Based on separation of powers doctrine that Congress can’t maintain control over officer assigned executive power

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