Constitutional Law Keyed to Cohen
Raines v. Bird
On March 27, 1996, the Senate passed a bill entitled the Line Item Veto Act. The four Senators bringing this suit before the Court voted “nay”. The next day, the House of Representatives passed the bill as well. Two of the House members also voted “nay”. The Act went into effect on January 1, 1997. The next day, these members of Congress (members) filed suit against the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, alleging that the Act was unconstitutional. The Line Item Veto Act gives the President authority to cancel certain spending and tax benefit measures after he has signed them into law. Further, the Act provides that “any Member of Congress or any individual adversely affected by the Act may bring an action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief on the ground that any provision of this part of the Act violates the Constitution.” These members claimed that the Act injured them directly in their official capacities by 1) altering the legal effect of all votes they may cast on bills containing items that could be subsequently vetoed, 2) divesting the members of their constitutional role in the repeal of legislation, and 3) altering the constitutional balance of powers between the Legislative and Executive branches of government.
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