Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Case Study

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The United State Supreme Court often must discern the intention of the framers in the vague text of the U.S. Constitution. These discretionary powers lead to varying judgements and opinions of highly regarded principles in the formation of the Nation. Among these principles lies the separation of powers. Montesquieu, in The Spirit of the Laws (1748), states:
When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner. p. 199
This doctrine emphasizes the detrimental effects of a violation of such separation of powers going without remedy,
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However, a secondary question was asked of the ability to seek a remedy. The options, in this case, would be to invalidate § 251 of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act or to reform the removal of the Comptroller General via the nullification of the removal provision of the Act that created his position (Bowsher v. Synar, 1986, p. 734). The majority opinion, written by Burger and joined by Brennan, Powell, Rehnquist, and O’Connor, addresses these issues. Burger holds that “the powers vested in the Comptroller General under § 251 violate the Constitution 's command that Congress play no direct role in the execution of the laws (Bowsher v. Synar, 1986, p. 736).” A concurring opinion, written by Stevens and joined by Marshall conclude that Congress is in violation of the Constitution, but they differ upon the reasons which this case is unconstitutional. Writing the dissenting opinions is Justices White and …show more content…
Justice Stevens believed that the actions of the Comptroller General were making policy that would “bind the Nation” therefore they must “follow the procedures mandated by Article I of the Constitution (Bowsher v. Synar, 1986).” Stevens makes the argument that Congress cannot delegate its authority to create legislation, as it must pass through both houses, and must complete these tasks on their own. Stevens and Marshall also conclude that the removal power would not, even could not, be abused by Congress to sway the actions of the Comptroller General, as it is subject to regulations and has never been abused in the past. They also hold disbelief in the necessity of the term executive in reference to the Comptroller General’s new functions under this act. The functions of this officer are fluid and may also be termed legislative functions. However, this notion is irrelevant to their conclusion, as Stevens and Marshall hold that Congress does not have the authority to delegate this power in any regard (Bowsher v. Synar,

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