[Supreme Court Opinion 97-1374 - Clinton v. City of New York (History of Line Item Veto Notices)]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

Syllabus
OCTOBER TERM, 1997
CLINTON v. CITY OF NEW YORK

NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being 
done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.The 
syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared 
by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.See United States 
v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES


CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, et al. v. CITY OF NEW YORK 
et al.
appeal from the united states district court for the district of columbia
No. 97–1374. Argued April 27, 1998—Decided June 25, 1998
Last Term, this Court determined on expedited review that Members of Congress 
did not have standing to maintain a constitutional challenge to the Line Item 
Veto Act (Act), 2 U. S. C. §691 et seq., because they had 
not alleged a sufficiently concrete injury.  Raines v. Byrd, 521 U. S. ___.  
Within two months, the President exercised his authority under the Act by 
canceling §4722(c) of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which waived the 
Federal Government’s statutory right to recoupment of as much as $2.6 
billion in taxes that the State of New York had levied against Medicaid 
providers, and §968 of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, which permitted the 
owners of certain food refiners and processors to defer recognition of capital 
gains if they sold their stock to eligible farmers’ cooperatives.  
Appellees, claiming they had been injured, filed separate actions against the 
President and other officials challenging the cancellations.  The plaintiffs in 
the first case are the City of New York, two hospital associations, one 
hospital, and two unions representing health care employees.  The plaintiffs in 
the second are the Snake River farmers’ cooperative and one of its 
individual members.  The District Court consolidated the cases, determined that 
at least one of the plaintiffs in each had standing under Article III, and 
ruled, inter alia, that the Act’s cancellation procedures violate the 
Presentment Clause, Art. I, §7, cl. 2.  This Court again expedited its 
review.  
Held:
1. The appellees have standing to challenge the Act’s constitutionality.  
They invoked the District Court’s jurisdiction under a section entitled 
“Expedited Review,” which, among other things, expressly authorizes 
“any individual adversely affected” to bring a constitutional 
challenge.  §692(a)(1).  The Government’s argument that none of them 
except the individual Snake River member is an “individual” within 
§692(a)(1)’s meaning is rejected because, in the context of the 
entire section, it is clear that Congress meant that word to be construed 
broadly to include corporations and other entities.  The Court is also 
unpersuaded by the Government’s argument that appellees’ challenge 
is nonjusticiable.  These cases differ from Raines, not only because the 
President’s exercise of his cancellation authority has removed any concern 
about the dispute’s ripeness, but more importantly because the parties 
have alleged a “personal stake” in having an actual injury 
redressed, rather than an “institutional injury” that is 
“abstract and widely dispersed.”  521 U. S., at ___.  There is 
no merit to the Government’s contention that, in both cases, the appellees 
have not suffered actual injury because their claims are too speculative and, in 
any event, are advanced by the wrong parties.  Because New York State now has a 
multibillion dollar contingent liability that had been eliminated by 
§4722(c), the State, and the appellees, suffered an immediate, concrete 
injury the moment the President canceled the section and deprived them of its 
benefits.  The argument that New York’s claim belongs to the State, not 
appellees, fails in light of New York statutes demonstrating that both New York 
City and the appellee providers will be assessed for substantial portions of any 
recoupment payments the State has to make.  Similarly, the President’s 
cancellation of §968 inflicted a sufficient likelihood of economic injury 
on the Snake River appellees to establish standing under this Court’s 
precedents, cf. Bryant v. Yellen, 447 U. S. 352, 368.  The assertion that, 
because processing facility sellers would have received the tax benefits, only 
they have standing to challenge the §968 cancellation not only ignores the 
fact that the cooperatives were the intended beneficiaries of §968, but 
also overlooks the fact that more than one party may be harmed by a defendant 
and therefore have standing.  Pp. 9–17.


2. The Act’s cancellation procedures violate the Presentment Clause.  Pp. 
17–31.


(a) The Act empowers the President to cancel an “item of new direct 
spending” such as §4722(c) of the Balanced Budget Act and a 
“limited tax benefit” such as §968 of the Taxpayer Relief Act, 
§691(a), specifying that such cancellation prevents a provision “from 
having legal force or effect,” §§691e(4)(B)–(C).  Thus, in 
both legal and practical effect, the presidential actions at issue have amended 
two Acts of Congress by repealing a portion of each.  Statutory repeals must 
conform with Art. I, INS v. Chadha, 462 U. S. 919, 954, but there is no 
constitutional authorization for the President to amend or repeal.  Under the 
Presentment Clause, after a bill has passed both Houses, but “before it 
become[s] a Law,” it must be presented to the President, who “shall 
sign it” if he approves it, but “return it,” i.e., 
“veto” it, if he does not.  There are important differences between 
such a “return” and cancellation under the Act: The constitutional 
return is of the entire bill and takes place before it becomes law, whereas the 
statutory cancellation occurs after the bill becomes law and affects it only in 
part.  There are powerful reasons for construing the constitutional silence on 
the profoundly important subject of presidential repeals as equivalent to an 
express prohibition.  The Article I procedures governing statutory enactment 
were the product of the great debates and compromises that produced the 
Constitution itself.  Familiar historical materials provide abundant support for 
the conclusion that the power to enact statutes may only “be exercised in 
accord with a single, finely wrought and exhaustively considered, 
procedure.”  Chadha, 462 U. S., at 951.  What has emerged in the 
present cases, however, are not the product of the “finely wrought” 
procedure that the Framers designed, but truncated versions of two bills that 
passed both Houses.  Pp. 17–24.


(b) The Court rejects two related Government arguments.  First, the contention 
that the cancellations were merely exercises of the President’s 
discretionary authority under the Balanced Budget Act and the Taxpayer Relief 
Act, read in light of the previously enacted Line Item Veto Act, is 
unpersuasive.  Field v. Clark, 143 U. S. 649, 693, on which the Government 
relies, suggests critical differences between this cancellation power and the 
President’s statutory power to suspend import duty exemptions that was 
there upheld: such suspension was contingent on a condition that did not predate 
its statute, the duty to suspend was absolute once the President determined the 
contingency had arisen, and the suspension executed congressional policy.  In 
contrast, the Act at issue authorizes the President himself to effect the repeal 
of laws, for his own policy reasons, without observing Article I, §7, 
procedures.  Second, the contention that the cancellation authority is no 
greater than the President’s traditional statutory authority to decline to 
spend appropriated funds or to implement specified tax measures fails because 
this Act, unlike the earlier laws, gives the President the unilateral power to 
change the text of duly enacted statutes.  Pp. 23–29.


(c) The profound importance of these cases makes it appropriate to emphasize 
three points.  First, the Court expresses no opinion about the wisdom of the 
Act’s procedures and does not lightly conclude that the actions of the 
Congress that passed it, and the President who signed it into law, were 
unconstitutional.  The Court has, however, twice had full argument and briefing 
on the question and has concluded that its duty is clear.  Second, having 
concluded that the Act’s cancellation provisions violate Article I, 
§7, the Court finds it unnecessary to consider the District Court’s 
alternative holding that the Act impermissibly disrupts the balance of powers 
among the three branches of Government.  Third, this decision rests on the 
narrow ground that the Act’s procedures are not authorized by the 
Constitution.  If this Act were valid, it would authorize the President to 
create a law whose text was not voted on by either House or presented to the 
President for signature.  That may or may not be desirable, but it is surely not 
a document that may “become a law” pursuant to Article I, §7.  
If there is to be a new procedure in which the President will play a different 
role, such change must come through the Article V amendment procedures.  Pp.  
29–31.
985 F. Supp. 168, affirmed.
Stevens, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., 
and Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, and Ginsburg, JJ., joined.  Kennedy, J., filed a 
concurring opinion.  Scalia, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and 
dissenting in part, in which O’Connor, J., joined, and in which Breyer, 
J., joined as to Part III.  Breyer, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which 
O’Connor and Scalia, JJ., joined as to Part III.