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CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.

We granted certiorari in Nos. 80-2170 and 80-2171, and postponed consideration of the question of jurisdiction in No. 80-1832. Each presents a challenge to the constitutionality of the provision in § 244(c)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 66 Stat. 216, as amended, 8 U.S.C. § 1254(c)(2), authorizing one House of Congress, by resolution, to invalidate the decision of the Executive Branch, pursuant to authority delegated by Congress to the Attorney General of the United States, to allow a particular deportable alien to remain in the United States.


Chadha is an East Indian who was born in Kenya and holds a British passport. He was lawfully admitted to the United States in 1966 on a nonimmigrant student visa. His visa expired on June 30, 1972. On October 11, 1973, the District Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service ordered Chadha to show cause why he should not be deported for having "remained in the United States for a longer time than permitted." App. 6. Pursuant to § 242(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act), 8 U.S.C. § 1252(b), a deportation hearing was held before an Immigration Judge on January 11, 1974. Chadha conceded that he was deportable for overstaying his visa, and the hearing was adjourned to enable him to file an application for suspension of deportation under § 244(a)(1) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1254(a)(1). Section 244(a)(1), at the time in question, provided:

As hereinafter prescribed in this section, the Attorney General may, in his discretion, suspend deportation and adjust the status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, in the case of an alien who applies to the Attorney General for suspension of deportation and —
(1) is deportable under any law of the United States except the provisions specified in paragraph (2) of this subsection; has been physically present in the United [p924] States for a continuous period of not less than seven years immediately preceding the date of such application, and proves that during all of such period he was and is a person of good moral character; and is a person whose deportation would, in the opinion of the Attorney General, result in extreme hardship to the alien or to his spouse, parent, or child, who is a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence. [1]

After Chadha submitted his application for suspension of deportation, the deportation hearing was resumed on February 7, 1974. On the basis of evidence adduced at the hearing, affidavits submitted with the application, and the results of a character investigation conducted by the INS, the Immigration Judge, on June 25, 1974, ordered that Chadha's deportation be suspended. The Immigration Judge found that Chadha met the requirements of § 244(a)(1): he had resided continuously in the United States for over seven years, was of good moral character, and would suffer "extreme hardship" if deported.

Pursuant to § 244(c)(1) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1254(c)(1), the Immigration Judge suspended Chadha's deportation and a report of the suspension was transmitted to Congress. Section 244(c)(1) provides:

Upon application by any alien who is found by the Attorney General to meet the requirements of subsection (a) of this section the Attorney General may in his discretion suspend deportation of such alien. If the deportation of any alien is suspended under the provisions of this subsection, a complete and detailed statement of the [p925] facts and pertinent provisions of law in the case shall be reported to the Congress with the reasons for such suspension. Such reports shall be submitted on the first day of each calendar month in which Congress is in session.

Once the Attorney General's recommendation for suspension of Chadha's deportation was conveyed to Congress, Congress had the power under § 244(c)(2) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1254(c)(2), to veto [2] the Attorney General's determination that Chadha should not be deported. Section 244(c)(2) provides:

(2) In the case of an alien specified in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this subsection —
if during the session of the Congress at which a case is reported, or prior to the close of the session of the Congress next following the session at which a case is reported, either the Senate or the House of Representatives passes a resolution stating in substance that it does not favor the suspension of such deportation, the Attorney General shall thereupon deport such alien or authorize the alien's voluntary departure at his own expense under the order of deportation in the manner provided by law. If, within the time above specified, neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives shall pass such a resolution, the Attorney General shall cancel deportation proceedings. [p926]

The June 25, 1974, order of the Immigration Judge suspending Chadha's deportation remained outstanding as a valid order for a year and a half. For reasons not disclosed by the record, Congress did not exercise the veto authority reserved to it under § 244(c)(2) until the first session of the 94th Congress. This was the final session in which Congress, pursuant to § 244(c)(2), could act to veto the Attorney General's determination that Chadha should not be deported. The session ended on December 19, 1975. 121 Cong.Rec. 42014, 42277 (1975). Absent congressional action, Chadha's deportation proceedings would have been canceled after this date and his status adjusted to that of a permanent resident alien. See 8 U.S.C. § 1254(d).

On December 12, 1975, Representative Eilberg, Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and International Law, introduced a resolution opposing "the granting of permanent residence in the United States to [six] aliens," including Chadha. H.Res. 926, 94th Cong., 1st Sess.; 121 Cong Rec. 40247 (1975). The resolution was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. On December 16, 1975, the resolution was discharged from further consideration by the House Committee on the Judiciary and submitted to the House of Representatives for a vote. 121 Cong.Rec. 40800. The resolution had not been printed and was not made available to other Members of the House prior to or at the time it was voted on. Ibid. So far as the record before us shows, the House consideration of the resolution was based on Representative Eilberg's statement from the floor that

[i]t was the feeling of the committee, after reviewing 340 cases, that the aliens contained in the resolution [Chadha and five others] did not meet these statutory requirements, particularly as it relates to hardship; and it is the opinion of the committee that their deportation should not be suspended.

Ibid. [p927] The resolution was passed without debate or recorded vote. [3] Since the House action was pursuant to § 244(c)(2), the resolution was not treated as an Art. I legislative act; it was not [p928] submitted to the Senate or presented to the President for his action.

After the House veto of the Attorney General's decision to allow Chadha to remain in the United States, the Immigration Judge reopened the deportation proceedings to implement the House order deporting Chadha. Chadha moved to terminate the proceedings on the ground that § 244(c)(2) is unconstitutional. The Immigration Judge held that he had no authority to rule on the constitutional validity of § 244(c)(2). On November 8, 1976, Chadha was ordered deported pursuant to the House action.

Chadha appealed the deportation order to the Board of Immigration Appeals, again contending that § 244(c)(2) is unconstitutional. The Board held that it had "no power to declare unconstitutional an act of Congress," and Chadha's appeal was dismissed. App. 55-56.

Pursuant to § 106(a) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1105a(a), Chadha filed a petition for review of the deportation order in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Immigration and Naturalization Service agreed with Chadha's position before the Court of Appeals and joined him in arguing that § 244(c)(2) is unconstitutional. In light of the importance of the question, the Court of Appeals invited both the Senate and the House of Representatives to file briefs amici curiae.

After full briefing and oral argument, the Court of Appeals held that the House was without constitutional authority to order Chadha's deportation; accordingly it directed the Attorney General "to cease and desist from taking any steps to deport this alien based upon the resolution enacted by the House of Representatives." 634 F.2d 408, 436 (1980). The essence of its holding was that § 244(c)(2) violates the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers.

We granted certiorari in Nos. 80-2170 and 80-2171, and postponed consideration of our jurisdiction over the appeal in No. 80-1832, 454 U.S. 812 (1981), and we now affirm. [p929]


Before we address the important question of the constitutionality of the one-House veto provision of § 244(c)(2), we first consider several challenges to the authority of this Court to resolve the issue raised.

II AEdit

Both Houses of Congress [4] contend that we are without jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1252 to entertain the INS appeal in No. 80-1832. Section 1252 provides:

Any party may appeal to the Supreme Court from an interlocutory or final judgment, decree or order of any court of the United States, the United States District Court for the District of the Canal Zone, the District Court of Guam and the District Court of the Virgin Islands and any court of record of Puerto Rico, holding an Act of Congress unconstitutional in any civil action, suit, or proceeding to which the United States or any of its agencies, or any officer or employee thereof, as such officer or employee, is a party.

Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 742, n. 10 (1974), makes clear that a court of appeals is a "court of the United States" for purposes of § 1252. It is likewise clear that the proceeding below was a "civil action, suit, or proceeding," that the INS is an agency of the United States and was a party to the proceeding below, and that that proceeding held an Act of Congress — namely, the one-House veto provision in § 244(c)(2) —unconstitutional. The express requisites for an appeal under § 1252, therefore, have been met. [p930]

In motions to dismiss the INS appeal, the congressional parties [5] direct attention, however, to our statement that "[a] party who receives all that he has sought generally is not aggrieved by the judgment affording the relief and cannot appeal from it." Deposit Guaranty National Bank v. Roper, 445 U.S. 326, 333 (1980). Here, the INS sought the invalidation of § 244(c)(2), and the Court of Appeals granted that relief. Both Houses contend that the INS has already received what it sought from the Court of Appeals, is not an aggrieved party, and therefore cannot appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeals. We cannot agree.

The INS was ordered by one House of Congress to deport Chadha. As we have set out more fully, supra, at 928, the INS concluded that it had no power to rule on the constitutionality of that order, and accordingly proceeded to implement it. Chadha's appeal challenged that decision, and the INS presented the Executive's views on the constitutionality of the House action to the Court of Appeals. But the INS brief to the Court of Appeals did not alter the agency's decision to comply with the House action ordering deportation of Chadha. The Court of Appeals set aside the deportation proceedings and ordered the Attorney General to cease and desist from taking any steps to deport Chadha, steps that the Attorney General would have taken were it not for that decision.

At least for purposes of deciding whether the INS is "any party" within the grant of appellate jurisdiction in § 1252, we hold that the INS was sufficiently aggrieved by the Court of Appeals decision prohibiting it from taking action it would otherwise take. It is apparent that Congress intended that [p931] this Court take notice of cases that meet the technical prerequisites of § 1252; in other cases where an Act of Congress is held unconstitutional by a federal court, review in this Court is available only by writ of certiorari. When an agency of the United States is a party to a case in which the Act of Congress it administers is held unconstitutional, it is an aggrieved party for purposes of taking an appeal under § 1252. The agency's status as an aggrieved party under § 1252 is not altered by the fact that the Executive may agree with the holding that the statute in question is unconstitutional. The appeal in No. 80-1832 is therefore properly before us. [6]

II BEdit

Congress also contends that the provision for the one-House veto in § 244(c)(2) cannot be severed from § 244. Congress argues that, if the provision for the one-House veto is held unconstitutional, all of § 244 must fall. If § 244 in its entirety is violative of the Constitution, it follows that the Attorney General has no authority to suspend Chadha's deportation under § 244(a)(1), and Chadha would be deported. From this, Congress argues that Chadha lacks standing to challenge the constitutionality of the one-House veto provision, because he could receive no relief even if his constitutional challenge proves successful. [7]

Only recently this Court reaffirmed that the invalid portions of a statute are to be severed

"[u]nless it is evident that [p932] the Legislature would not have enacted those provisions which are within its power, independently of that which is not."

Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 108 (1976), quoting Champlin Refining Co. v. Corporation Comm'n of Oklahoma, 286 U.S. 210, 234 (1932). Here, however, we need not embark on that elusive inquiry, since Congress itself has provided the answer to the question of severability in § 406 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, note following 8 U.S.C. § 1101 which provides:

If any particular provision of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of the Act and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

(Emphasis added.) This language is unambiguous, and gives rise to a presumption that Congress did not intend the validity of the Act as a whole, or of any part of the Act, to depend upon whether the veto clause of § 244(c)(2) was invalid. The one-House veto provision in § 244(c)(2) is clearly a "particular provision" of the Act as that language is used in the severability clause. Congress clearly intended "the remainder of the Act" to stand if "any particular provision" were held invalid. Congress could not have more plainly authorized the presumption that the provision for a one-House veto in § 244(c)(2) is severable from the remainder of § 244 and the Act of which it is a part. See Electric Bond & Share Co. v. SEC, 303 U.S. 419, 434 (1938).

The presumption as to the severability of the one-House veto provision in § 244(c)(2) is supported by the legislative history of § 244. That section and its precursors supplanted the long-established pattern of dealing with deportations like Chadha's on a case-by-case basis through private bills. Although it may be that Congress was reluctant to delegate final authority over cancellation of deportations, such reluctance is not sufficient to overcome the presumption of severability raised by § 406. [p933]

The Immigration Act of 1924, ch.190, § 14, 43 Stat. 162, required the Secretary of Labor to deport any alien who entered or remained in the United States unlawfully. The only means by which a deportable alien could lawfully remain in the United States was to have his status altered by a private bill enacted by both Houses and presented to the President pursuant to the procedures set out in Art. I, § 7, of the Constitution. These private bills were found intolerable by Congress. In the debate on a 1937 bill introduced by Representative Dies to authorize the Secretary to grant permanent residence in "meritorious" cases, Dies stated:

It was my original thought that the way to handle all these meritorious cases was through special bills. I am absolutely convinced as a result of what has occurred in this House that it is impossible to deal with this situation through special bills. We had a demonstration of that fact not long ago when 15 special bills were before this House. The House consumed 5 1/2 hours considering four bills, and made no disposition of any of the bills.

81 Cong.Rec. 5542 (1937). Representative Dies' bill passed the House, id. at 5574, but did not come to a vote in the Senate. 83 Cong.Rec. 8992-8996 (1938).

Congress first authorized the Attorney General to suspend the deportation of certain aliens in the Alien Registration Act of 1940, ch. 439, § 20, 54 Stat. 671. That Act provided that an alien was to be deported, despite the Attorney General's decision to the contrary, if both Houses, by concurrent resolution, disapproved the suspension.

In 1948, Congress amended the Act to broaden the category of aliens eligible for suspension of deportation. In addition, however, Congress limited the authority of the Attorney General to suspend deportations by providing that the Attorney General could not cancel a deportation unless both Houses affirmatively voted by concurrent resolution to approve the Attorney General's action. A ct of July 1, 1948, [p934] ch. 783, 62 Stat. 1206. The provision for approval by concurrent resolution in the 1948 Act proved almost as burdensome as private bills. Just one year later, the House Judiciary Committee, in support of the predecessor to § 244(c)(2), stated in a Report:

In the light of experience of the last several months, the committee came to the conclusion that the requirement of affirmative action by both Houses of the Congress in many thousands of individual cases which are submitted by the Attorney General every year is not workable, and places upon the Congress and particularly on the Committee on the Judiciary responsibilities which it cannot assume. The new responsibilities placed upon the Committee on the Judiciary [by the concurrent resolution mechanism] are of purely administrative nature, and they seriously interfere with the legislative work of the Committee on the Judiciary and would, in time, interfere with the legislative work of the House.

H.R.Rep. No. 362, 81st Cong., 1st Sess., 2 (1949).

The proposal to permit one House of Congress to veto the Attorney General's suspension of an alien's deportation was incorporated in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, Pub.L. 414, § 244(a), 66 Stat. 214. Plainly, Congress' desire to retain a veto in this area cannot be considered in isolation, but must be viewed in the context of Congress' irritation with the burden of private immigration bills. This legislative history is not sufficient to rebut the presumption of severability raised by § 406, because there is insufficient evidence that Congress would have continued to subject itself to the onerous burdens of private bills had it known that § 244(c)(2) would be held unconstitutional.

A provision is further presumed severable if what remains after severance "is fully operative as a law." Champlin Refining Co. v. Corporation Comm'n, supra, at 234. There can be no doubt that § 244 is "fully operative" and workable administrative machinery without the veto provision in § 244(c)(2). Entirely independent of the one-House veto, the [p935] administrative process enacted by Congress authorizes the Attorney General to suspend an alien's deportation under § 244(a). Congress' oversight of the exercise of this delegated authority is preserved, since all such suspensions will continue to be reported to it under § 244(c)(1). Absent the passage of a bill to the contrary, [8] deportation proceedings will be canceled when the period specified in § 244(c)(2) has expired. [9] Clearly, § 244 survives as a workable administrative mechanism without the one-House veto.

II CEdit

We must also reject the contention that Chadha lacks standing because a consequence of his prevailing will advance [p936] the interests of the Executive Branch in a separation-of-powers dispute with Congress, rather than simply Chadha's private interests. Chadha has demonstrated "injury in fact and a substantial likelihood that the judicial relief requested will prevent or redress the claimed injury. . . ." Duke Power Co. v. Carolina Environmental Study Group, Inc., 438 U.S. 59, 79 (1978). If the veto provision violates the Constitution, and is severable, the deportation order against Chadha will be canceled. Chadha therefore has standing to challenge the order of the Executive mandated by the House veto.

II DEdit

It is contended that the Court should decline to decide the constitutional question presented by these cases because Chadha may have other statutory relief available to him. It is argued that, since Chadha married a United States citizen on August 10, 1980, it is possible that other avenues of relief may be open under §§ 201(b), 204, and 245 of the Act, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1151(b), 1154, and 1255. It is true that Chadha may be eligible for classification as an "immediate relative" and, as such, could lawfully be accorded permanent residence. Moreover, in March 1980, just prior to the decision of the Court of Appeals in these cases, Congress enacted the Refugee Act of 1980, Pub.L. 96-212, 94 Stat. 102, under which the Attorney General is authorized to grant asylum, and then permanent residence, to any alien who is unable to return to his country of nationality because of "a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race."

It is urged that these two intervening factors constitute a prudential bar to our consideration of the constitutional question presented in these cases. See Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U.S. 288, 346 (1936) (Brandeis, J., concurring). If we could perceive merit in this contention, we might well seek to avoid deciding the constitutional claim advanced. But, at most, [p937] these other avenues of relief are speculative. It is by means certain, for example, that Chadha's classification an immediate relative would result in the adjustment Chadha's status from nonimmigrant to permanent resident. See Menezes v. INS, 601 F.2d 1028 (CA9 1979). If Chadha is successful in his present challenge, he will not be deported, and will automatically become eligible to apply for citizenship. [10] A person threatened with deportation cannot be denied the right to challenge the constitutional validity of the process which led to his status merely on the basis of speculation over the availability of other forms of relief.

II EEdit

It is contended that the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction under § 106(a) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1105a(a). That section provides that a petition for review in the Court of Appeals

shall be the sole and exclusive procedure for the judicial review of all final orders of deportation . . . made against aliens within the United States pursuant to administrative proceedings under section 242(b) of this Act.

Congress argues that the one-House veto authorized by § 244(c)(2) takes place outside the administrative proceedings conducted under § 242(b), and that the jurisdictional grant contained in § 106(a) does not encompass Chadha's constitutional challenge.

In Cheng Fan Kwok v. INS, 392 U.S. 206, 216 (1968), this Court held that

§ 106(a) embrace[s] only those determinations [p938] made during a proceeding conducted under § 242(b), including those determinations made incident to a motion to reopen such proceedings.

It is true that one court has read Cheng Fan Kwok to preclude appeals similar to Chadha's. See Dastmalchi v. INS, 660 F.2d 880 (CA3 1981). [11] However, we agree with the Court of Appeals in these cases that the term "final orders" in § 106(a) "includes all matters on which the validity of the final order is contingent, rather than only those determinations actually made at the hearing." 634 F.2d at 412. Here, Chadha's deportation stands or falls on the validity of the challenged veto; the final order of deportation was entered against Chadha only to implement the action of the House of Representatives. Although the Attorney General was satisfied that the House action was invalid and that it should not have any effect on his decision to suspend deportation, he appropriately let the controversy take its course through the courts.

This Court's decision in Cheng Fan Kwok, supra, does not bar Chadha's appeal. There, after an order of deportation had been entered, the affected alien requested the INS to stay the execution of that order. When that request was denied, the alien sought review in the Court of Appeals under § 106(a). This Court's holding that the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction was based on the fact that the alien "did not ‘attack the deportation order itself, but instead [sought] relief not inconsistent with it.'" 392 U.S. at 213, quoting [p939] Mui v. Esperdy, 371 F.2d 772, 777 (CA2 1966). Here, in contrast, Chadha directly attacks the deportation order itself, and the relief he seeks — cancellation of deportation — is plainly inconsistent with the deportation order. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction under § 106(a) to decide these cases.

II FEdit

It is also contended that this is not a genuine controversy but "a friendly, nonadversary, proceeding," Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U.S. at 346 (Brandeis, J., concurring), upon which the Court should not pass. This argument rests on the fact that Chadha and the INS take the same position on the constitutionality of the one-House veto. But it would be a curious result if, in the administration of justice, a person could be denied access to the courts because the Attorney General of the United States agreed with the legal arguments asserted by the individual.

A case or controversy is presented by these cases. First, from the time of Congress' formal intervention, see n. 5, supra, the concrete adverseness is beyond doubt. Congress is both a proper party to defend the constitutionality of § 244(c)(2) and a proper petitioner under 28 U.S.C. § 1254(1). Second, prior to Congress' intervention, there was adequate Art. III adverseness even though the only parties were the INS and Chadha. We have already held that the INS's agreement with the Court of Appeals' decision that § 244(c)(2) is unconstitutional does not affect that agency's "aggrieved" status for purposes of appealing that decision under 28 U.S.C. § 1252 see supra at 929-931. For similar reasons, the INS's agreement with Chadha's position does not alter the fact that the INS would have deported Chadha absent the Court of Appeals' judgment. We agree with the Court of Appeals that

Chadha has asserted a concrete controversy, and our decision will have real meaning: if we rule for Chadha, he will not be deported; if we uphold § 244(c)(2), [p940] the INS will execute its order and deport him.

634 F.2d at 419. [12]

Of course, there may be prudential, as opposed to Art. III, concerns about sanctioning the adjudication of these cases in the absence of any participant supporting the validity of § 244(c)(2). The Court of Appeals properly dispelled any such concerns by inviting and accepting briefs from both Houses of Congress. We have long held that Congress is the proper party to defend the validity of a statute when an agency of government, as a defendant charged with enforcing the statute, agrees with plaintiffs that the statute is inapplicable or unconstitutional. See Cheng Fan Kwok v. INS, 392 U.S. at 210, n. 9; United States v. Lovett, 328 U.S. 303 (1946).

II GEdit

It is also argued that these cases present a nonjusticiable political question, because Chadha is merely challenging Congress' authority under the Naturalization Clause, U.S.Const., Art. I, § 8, cl. 4, and the Necessary and Proper Clause, U.S.Const., Art. I, § 8, cl. 18. It is argued that Congress' Art. I power "To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization," combined with the Necessary and Proper Clause, grants it unreviewable authority over the regulation of aliens. The plenary authority of Congress over aliens under Art. I, § 8, cl. 4, is not open to question, but what is [p941] challenged here is whether Congress has chosen a constitutionally permissible means of implementing that power. As we made clear in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976):

Congress has plenary authority in all cases in which it has substantive legislative jurisdiction, McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316 (1819), so long as the exercise of that authority does not offend some other constitutional restriction.

Id. at 132.

A brief review of those factors which may indicate the presence of a nonjusticiable political question satisfies us that our assertion of jurisdiction over these cases does no violence to the political question doctrine. As identified in Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 217 (1962), a political question may arise when any one of the following circumstances is present:

a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; or the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion; or the impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government; or an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made; or the potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one question.

Congress apparently directs its assertion of nonjusticiability to the first of the Baker factors by asserting that Chadha's claim is "an assault on the legislative authority to enact Section 244(c)(2)." Brief for Petitioner in No. 80-2170, p. 48. But if this turns the question into a political question, virtually every challenge to the constitutionality of a statute would be a political question. Chadha indeed argues that one House of Congress cannot constitutionally veto the Attorney General's decision to allow him to remain in this country. No policy underlying the political question doctrine [p942] suggests that Congress or the Executive, or both acting in concert and in compliance with Art. I, can decide the constitutionality of a statute; that is a decision for the courts. [13]

Other Baker factors are likewise inapplicable to this case. As we discuss more fully below, Art. I provides the "judicially discoverable and manageable standards" of Baker for resolving the question presented by these cases. Those standards forestall reliance by this Court on nonjudicial "policy determinations" or any showing of disrespect for a coordinate branch. Similarly, if Chadha's arguments are accepted, § 244(c)(2) cannot stand, and, since the constitutionality of that statute is for this Court to resolve, there is no possibility of "multifarious pronouncements" on this question.

It is correct that this controversy may, in a sense, be termed "political." But the presence of constitutional issues with significant political overtones does not automatically invoke [p943] the political question doctrine. Resolution of litigation challenging the constitutional authority of one of the three branches cannot be evaded by courts because the issues have political implications in the sense urged by Congress. Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137 (1803), was also a "political" case, involving as it did claims under a judicial commission alleged to have been duly signed by the President but not delivered. But

courts cannot reject as "no law suit" a bona fide controversy as to whether some action denominated "political" exceeds constitutional authority.

Baker v. Carr, supra, at 217.

In Field v. Clark, 143 U.S. 649 (1892), this Court addressed and resolved the question whether

a bill signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and by the President of the Senate, presented to and approved by the President of the United States, and delivered by the latter to the Secretary of State, as an act passed by Congress, does not become a law of the United States if it had not in fact been passed by Congress. . . .
. . . We recognize, on one hand, the duty of this court, from the performance of which it may not shrink, to give full effect to the provisions of the Constitution relating to the enactment of laws that are to operate wherever the authority and jurisdiction of the United States extend. On the other hand, we cannot be unmindful of the consequences that must result if this court should feel obliged, in fidelity to the Constitution, to declare that an enrolled bill, on which depend public and private interests of vast magnitude, and which has been . . . deposited in the public archives, as an act of Congress, . . . did not become a law.

Id. at 669-670 (emphasis in original).

II HEdit

The contentions on standing and justiciability have been fully examined, and we are satisfied the parties are properly before us. The important issues have been fully briefed and [p944] twice argued, see 458 U.S. 1120 (1982). The Court's duty in these cases, as Chief Justice Marshall declared in Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. 264, 404 (1821), is clear:

Questions may occur which we would gladly avoid; but we cannot avoid them. All we can do is to exercise our best judgment, and conscientiously to perform our duty.


We turn now to the question whether action of one House of Congress under § 244(c)(2) violates strictures of the Constitution. We begin, of course, with the presumption that the challenged statute is valid. Its wisdom is not the concern of the courts; if a challenged action does not violate the Constitution, it must be sustained:

Once the meaning of an enactment is discerned and its constitutionality determined, the judicial process comes to an end. We do not sit as a committee of review, nor are we vested with the power of veto.

TVA v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 194-195 (1978).

By the same token, the fact that a given law or procedure is efficient, convenient, and useful in facilitating functions of government, standing alone, will not save it if it is contrary to the Constitution. Convenience and efficiency are not the primary objectives — or the hallmarks — of democratic government, and our inquiry is sharpened, rather than blunted, by the fact that congressional veto provisions are appearing with increasing frequency in statutes which delegate authority to executive and independent agencies:

Since 1932, when the first veto provision was enacted into law, 295 congressional veto-type procedures have been inserted in 196 different statutes as follows: from 1932 to 1939, five statutes were affected; from 1940-49, nineteen statutes; between 1950-59, thirty-four statutes; and from 1960-69, forty-nine. From the year 1970 through 1975, at least one hundred sixty-three such provisions [p945] were included in eighty-nine laws.

Abourezk, The Congressional Veto: A Contemporary Response to Executive Encroachment on Legislative Prerogatives, 52 Ind.L.Rev. 323, 324 (1977). See also Appendix to JUSTICE WHITE's dissent, post at 1003. JUSTICE WHITE undertakes to make a case for the proposition that the one-House veto is a useful "political invention," post at 972, and we need not challenge that assertion. We can even concede this utilitarian argument, although the long-range political wisdom of this "invention" is arguable. It has been vigorously debated, and it is instructive to compare the views of the protagonists. See, e.g., Javits & Klein, Congressional Oversight and the Legislative Veto: A Constitutional Analysis, 52 N.Y.U.L.Rev. 455 (1977), and Martin, The Legislative Veto and the Responsible Exercise of Congressional Power, 68 Va.L.Rev. 253 (1982). But policy arguments supporting even useful "political inventions" are subject to the demands of the Constitution, which defines powers and, with respect to this subject, sets out just how those powers are to be exercised.

Explicit and unambiguous provisions of the Constitution prescribe and define the respective functions of the Congress and of the Executive in the legislative process. Since the precise terms of those familiar provisions are critical to the resolution of these cases, we set them out verbatim. Article I provides:

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Art. I, § 1. (Emphasis added.)

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President of the United States. . . .

Art. I, 7, cl. 2. (Emphasis added.)

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) [p946] shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Art. I, § 7, cl. 3. (Emphasis added.)

These provisions of Art. I are integral parts of the constitutional design for the separation of powers. We have recently noted that

[t]he principle of separation of powers was not simply an abstract generalization in the minds of the Framers: it was woven into the document that they drafted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787.

Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. at 124. Just as we relied on the textual provision of Art. II, § 2, cl. 2, to vindicate the principle of separation of powers in Buckley, we see that the purposes underlying the Presentment Clauses, Art. I, § 7, cls. 2, 3, and the bicameral requirement of Art. I, § 1, and § 7, cl. 2, guide our resolution of the important question presented in these cases. The very structure of the Articles delegating and separating powers under Arts. I, II, and III exemplifies the concept of separation of powers, and we now turn to Art. I.


The records of the Constitutional Convention reveal that the requirement that all legislation be presented to the President before becoming law was uniformly accepted by the Framers. [14] Presentment to the President and the Presidential [p947] veto were considered so imperative that the draftsmen took special pains to assure that these requirements could not be circumvented. During the final debate on Art. I, § 7, cl. 2, James Madison expressed concern that it might easily be evaded by the simple expedient of calling a proposed law a "resolution" or "vote," rather than a "bill." 2 Farrand 301-302. As a consequence, Art. I, § 7, cl. 3, supra at 945-946, was added. 2 Farrand 304-305.

The decision to provide the President with a limited and qualified power to nullify proposed legislation by veto was based on the profound conviction of the Framers that the powers conferred on Congress were the powers to be most carefully circumscribed. It is beyond doubt that lawmaking was a power to be shared by both Houses and the President. In The Federalist No. 73 (H. Lodge ed. 1888), Hamilton focused on the President's role in making laws:

If even no propensity had ever discovered itself in the legislative body to invade the rights of the Executive, the rules of just reasoning and theoretic propriety would of themselves teach us that the one ought not to be left to the mercy of the other, but ought to possess a constitutional and effectual power of self-defence.

Id. at 458. See also The Federalist No. 51. In his Commentaries on the Constitution, Joseph Story makes the same point. 1 J. Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 614-615 (3d ed. 1858).

The President's role in the lawmaking process also reflects the Framers' careful efforts to check whatever propensity a particular Congress might have to enact oppressive, improvident, [p948] or ill-considered measures. The President's veto role in the legislative process was described later during public debate on ratification:

It establishes a salutary check upon the legislative body, calculated to guard the community against the effects of faction, precipitancy, or of any impulse unfriendly to the public good, which may happen to influence a majority of that body.
. . . The primary inducement to conferring the power in question upon the Executive is to enable him to defend himself; the secondary one is to increase the chances in favor of the community against the passing of bad laws, through haste, inadvertence, or design.

The Federalist No. 73, supra, at 458 (A. Hamilton). See also The Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 655, 678 (1929); Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52, 123 (1926). The Court also has observed that the Presentment Clauses serve the important purpose of assuring that a "national" perspective is grafted on the legislative process:

The President is a representative of the people just as the members of the Senate and of the House are, and it may be, at some times, on some subjects, that the President elected by all the people is rather more representative of them all than are the members of either body of the Legislature, whose constituencies are local and not countrywide. . . .

Myers v. United States, supra, at 123.


The bicameral requirement of Art. I, § § 1, 7, was of scarcely less concern to the Framers than was the Presidential veto, and indeed the two concepts are interdependent. By providing that no law could take effect without the concurrence of the prescribed majority of the Members of both Houses, the Framers reemphasized their belief, already remarked [p949] upon in connection with the Presentment Clauses, that legislation should not be enacted unless it has been carefully and fully considered by the Nation's elected officials. In the Constitutional Convention debates on the need for a bicameral legislature, James Wilson, later to become a Justice of this Court, commented:

Despotism comes on mankind in different shapes, sometimes in an Executive, sometimes in a military, one. Is there danger of a Legislative despotism? Theory & practice both proclaim it. If the Legislative authority be not restrained, there can be neither liberty nor stability; and it can only be restrained by dividing it within itself, into distinct and independent branches. In a single house there is no check but the inadequate one of the virtue & good sense of those who compose it.

1 Farrand 254.

Hamilton argued that a Congress comprised of a single House was antithetical to the very purposes of the Constitution. Were the Nation to adopt a Constitution providing for only one legislative organ, he warned:

[W]e shall finally accumulate, in a single body, all the most important prerogatives of sovereignty, and thus entail upon our posterity one of the most execrable forms of government that human infatuation ever contrived. Thus we should create in reality that very tyranny which the adversaries of the new Constitution either are, or affect to be, solicitous to avert.

The Federalist No. 22, p. 135 (H. Lodge ed. 1888).

This view was rooted in a general skepticism regarding the fallibility of human nature later commented on by Joseph Story:

Public bodies, like private persons, are occasionally under the dominion of strong passions and excitements; impatient, irritable, and impetuous. . . . If [a legislature] [p950] feels no check but its own will, it rarely has the firmness to insist upon holding a question long enough under its own view to see and mark it in all its bearings and relations on society.

1 Story, supra, at 383-384. These observations are consistent with what many of the Framers expressed, none more cogently than Madison in pointing up the need to divide and disperse power in order to protect liberty:

In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches, and to render them, by different modes of election and different principles of action, as little connected with each other as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence on the society will admit.

The Federalist No. 51, p. 324 (H. Lodge ed. 1888) (sometimes attributed to "Hamilton or Madison" but now generally attributed to Madison). See also The Federalist No. 62.

However familiar, it is useful to recall that, apart from their fear that special interests could be favored at the expense of public needs, the Framers were also concerned, although not of one mind, over the apprehensions of the smaller states. Those states feared a commonality of interest among the larger states would work to their disadvantage; representatives of the larger states, on the other hand, were skeptical of a legislature that could pass laws favoring a minority of the people. See 1 Farrand 176-177, 484-491. It need hardly be repeated here that the Great Compromise, under which one House was viewed as representing the people and the other the states, allayed the fears of both the large and small states. [15] [p951]

We see therefore that the Framers were acutely conscious that the bicameral requirement and the Presentment Clauses would serve essential constitutional functions. The President's participation in the legislative process was to protect the Executive Branch from Congress and to protect the whole people from improvident laws. The division of the Congress into two distinctive bodies assures that the legislative power would be exercised only after opportunity for full study and debate in separate settings. The President's unilateral veto power, in turn, was limited by the power of two-thirds of both Houses of Congress to overrule a veto, thereby precluding final arbitrary action of one person. See id. at 99-104. It emerges clearly that the prescription for legislative action in Art. I, §§ 1, 7, represents the Framers' decision that the legislative power of the Federal Government be exercised in accord with a single, finely wrought and exhaustively considered, procedure.


The Constitution sought to divide the delegated powers of the new Federal Government into three defined categories, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial, to assure, as nearly as possible, that each branch of government would confine itself to its assigned responsibility. The hydraulic pressure inherent within each of the separate Branches to exceed the outer limits of its power, even to accomplish desirable objectives, must be resisted.

Although not "hermetically" sealed from one another, Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. at 121, the powers delegated to the three Branches are functionally identifiable. When any Branch acts, it is presumptively exercising the power the Constitution has delegated to it. See J. W. Hampton & Co. v. United States, 276 U.S. 394, 406 (1928). When the Executive acts, he presumptively acts in an executive or administrative capacity as defined in Art. II. And when, as here, [p952] one House of Congress purports to act, it is presumptively acting within its assigned sphere.

Beginning with this presumption, we must nevertheless establish that the challenged action under § 244(c)(2) is of the kind to which the procedural requirements of Art. I, § 7, apply. Not every action taken by either House is subject to the bicameralism and presentment requirements of Art. I. See infra at 955, and nn. 20, 21. Whether actions taken by either House are, in law and fact, an exercise of legislative power depends not on their form, but upon "whether they contain matter which is properly to be regarded as legislative in its character and effect." S.Rep. No. 1335, 54th Cong., 2d Sess., 8 (1897).

Examination of the action taken here by one House pursuant to § 244(c)(2) reveals that it was essentially legislative in purpose and effect. In purporting to exercise power defined in Art. I, § 8, cl. 4, to "establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization," the House took action that had the purpose and effect of altering the legal rights, duties, and relations of persons, including the Attorney General, Executive Branch officials and Chadha, all outside the Legislative Branch. Section 244(c)(2) purports to authorize one House of Congress to require the Attorney General to deport an individual alien whose deportation otherwise would be canceled under § 244. The one-House veto operated in these cases to overrule the Attorney General and mandate Chadha's deportation; absent the House action, Chadha would remain in the United States. Congress has acted, and its action has altered Chadha's status.

The legislative character of the one-House veto in these cases is confirmed by the character of the congressional action it supplants. Neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate contends that, absent the veto provision in § 244(c)(2), either of them, or both of them acting together, could effectively require the Attorney General to deport an alien once the Attorney General, in the exercise of legislatively [p953] delegated authority, [16] had determined the alien should remain in the United States. Without the challenged provision in § 244(c)(2), this could have been achieved, if at all, only [p954] by legislation requiring deportation. [17] Similarly, a veto by one House of Congress under § 244(c)(2) cannot be justified as an attempt at amending the standards set out in § 244(a)(1), or as a repeal of § 244 as applied to Chadha. Amendment and repeal of statutes, no less than enactment, must conform with Art. I. [18]

The nature of the decision implemented by the one-House veto in these cases further manifests its legislative character. After long experience with the clumsy, time-consuming private bill procedure, Congress made a deliberate choice to delegate to the Executive Branch, and specifically to the Attorney General, the authority to allow deportable aliens to remain in this country in certain specified circumstances. It is not disputed that this choice to delegate authority is precisely the kind of decision that can be implemented only in accordance with the procedures set out in Art. I. Disagreement with the Attorney General's decision on Chadha's deportation — that is, Congress' decision to deport Chadha — no less than Congress' original choice to delegate to the Attorney General the authority to make that decision, involves determinations of policy that Congress can implement in only one way; bicameral passage followed by presentment to the [p955] President. Congress must abide by its delegation of authority until that delegation is legislatively altered or revoked. [19]

Finally, we see that, when the Framers intended to authorize either House of Congress to act alone and outside of its prescribed bicameral legislative role, they narrowly and precisely defined the procedure for such action. There are four provisions in the Constitution, [20] explicit and unambiguous, by which one House may act alone with the unreviewable force of law, not subject to the President's veto:

(a) The House of Representatives alone was given the power to initiate impeachments. Art. I, § 2, cl. 5;

(b) The Senate alone was given the power to conduct trials following impeachment on charges initiated by the House, and to convict following trial. Art. I, § 3, cl. 6;

(c) The Senate alone was given final unreviewable power to approve or to disapprove Presidential appointments. Art. II, § 2, cl. 2;

(d) The Senate alone was given unreviewable power to ratify treaties negotiated by the President. Art. II, 2, cl. 2.

Clearly, when the Draftsmen sought to confer special powers on one House, independent of the other House, or of the President, they did so in explicit, unambiguous terms. [21] [p956] These carefully defined exceptions from presentment and bicameralism underscore the difference between the legislative functions of Congress and other unilateral but important and binding one-House acts provided for in the Constitution. These exceptions are narrow, explicit, and separately justified; none of them authorize the action challenged here. On the contrary, they provide further support for the conclusion that congressional authority is not to be implied, and for the conclusion that the veto provided for in § 244(c)(2) is not authorized by the constitutional design of the powers of the Legislative Branch.

Since it is clear that the action by the House under § 244(c)(2) was not within any of the express constitutional exceptions authorizing one House to act alone, and equally [p957] clear that it was an exercise of legislative power, that action was subject to the standards prescribed in Art. I. [22] The bicameral requirement, the Presentment Clauses, the President's veto, and Congress' power to override a veto were intended to erect enduring checks on each Branch and to protect the people from the improvident exercise of power by mandating certain prescribed steps. To preserve those [p958] checks, and maintain the separation of powers, the carefully defined limits on the power of each Branch must not be eroded. To accomplish what has been attempted by one House of Congress in this case requires action in conformity with the express procedures of the Constitution's prescription for legislative action: passage by a majority of both Houses and presentment to the President. [23]

The veto authorized by § 244(c)(2) doubtless has been in many respects a convenient shortcut; the "sharing" with the Executive by Congress of its authority over aliens in this manner is, on its face, an appealing compromise. In purely practical terms, it is obviously easier for action to be taken by one House without submission to the President; but it is crystal [p959] clear from the records of the Convention, contemporaneous writings, and debates that the Framers ranked other values higher than efficiency. The records of the Convention and debates in the states preceding ratification underscore the common desire to define and limit the exercise of the newly created federal powers affecting the states and the people. There is unmistakable expression of a determination that legislation by the national Congress be a step-by-step, deliberate and deliberative process.

The choices we discern as having been made in the Constitutional Convention impose burdens on governmental processes that often seem clumsy, inefficient, even unworkable, but those hard choices were consciously made by men who had lived under a form of government that permitted arbitrary governmental acts to go unchecked. There is no support in the Constitution or decisions of this Court for the proposition that the cumbersomeness and delays often encountered in complying with explicit constitutional standards may be avoided, either by the Congress or by the President. See Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952). With all the obvious flaws of delay, untidiness, and potential for abuse, we have not yet found a better way to preserve freedom than by making the exercise of power subject to the carefully crafted restraints spelled out in the Constitution.


We hold that the congressional veto provision in § 244(c)(2) is severable from the Act, and that it is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is



  • Together with No. 80-2170, United States House of Representatives v. Immigration and Naturalization Service et al., and No. 80-2171, United States Senate v. Immigration and Naturalization Service et al., on certiorari to the same court.

^ . Congress delegated the major responsibilities for enforcement of the Immigration and Nationality Act to the Attorney General. 8 U.S.C. § 1103(a). The Attorney General discharges his responsibilities through the Immigration and Naturalization Service, a division of the Department of Justice. Ibid.

^ . In constitutional terms, "veto" is used to describe the President's power under Art. I, 7, of the Constitution. See Black's Law Dictionary 1403 (5th ed.1979). It appears, however, that congressional devices of the type authorized by § 244(c)(2) have come to be commonly referred to as a "veto." See, e.g., Martin, The Legislative Veto and the Responsible Exercise of Congressional Power, 68 Va.L.Rev. 253 (1982); Miller & Knapp, The Congressional Veto: Preserving the Constitutional Framework, 52 Ind.L.J. 367 (1977). We refer to the congressional "resolution" authorized by § 244(c)(2) as a "one-House veto" of the Attorney General's decision to allow a particular deportable alien to remain in the United States.

^ . It is not at all clear whether the House generally, or Subcommittee Chairman Eilberg in particular, correctly understood the relationship between H.Res. 926 and the Attorney General's decision to suspend Chadha's deportation. Exactly one year previous to the House veto of the Attorney General's decision in this case, Representative Eilberg introduced a similar resolution disapproving the Attorney General's suspension of deportation in the case of six other aliens. H.Res. 1518, 93d Cong., 2d Sess. (1974). The following colloquy occurred on the floor of the House:

Mr. WYLIE. Mr. Speaker, further reserving the right to object, is this procedure to expedite the ongoing operations of the Department of Justice, as far as these people are concerned. Is it in any way contrary to whatever action the Attorney General has taken on the question of deportation; does the gentleman know?
Mr. EILBERG. Mr. Speaker, the answer is no to the gentleman's final question. These aliens have been found to be deportable and the Special Inquiry Officer's decision denying suspension of deportation has been reversed by the Board of Immigration Appeals. We are complying with the law, since all of these decisions have been referred to us for approval or disapproval, and there are hundreds of cases in this category. In these six cases, however, we believe it would be grossly improper to allow these people to acquire the status of permanent resident aliens.
Mr. WYLIE. In other words, the gentleman has been working with the Attorney General's office?
Mr. WYLIE. This bill then is in fact a confirmation of what the Attorney General intends to do?
Mr. EILBERG. The gentleman is correct insofar as it relates to the determination of deportability which has been made by the Department of Justice in each of these cases.
Mr. WYLIE. Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my reservation of objection.

120 Cong.Rec. 41412 (1974). Clearly, this was an obfuscation of the effect of a veto under § 244(c)(2). Such a veto in no way constitutes "a confirmation of what the Attorney General intends to do." To the contrary, such a resolution was meant to overrule and set aside, or "veto," the Attorney General's determination that, in a particular case, cancellation of deportation would be appropriate under the standards set forth in § 244(a)(1).

^ . Nine Members of the House of Representatives disagree with the position taken in the briefs filed by the Senate and the House of Representatives, and have filed a brief amici curiae urging that the decision of the Court of Appeals be affirmed in this case.

^ . The Senate and House authorized intervention in this case, S.Res. 40 and H.R.Res. 49, 97th Cong., 1st Sess. (1981), and, on February 3, 1981, filed motions to intervene and petitioned for rehearing. The Court of Appeals granted the motions to intervene. Both Houses are therefore proper "parties" within the meaning of that ter, in 28 U.S.C. § 1254(1). See Batterton v. Francis, 432 U.S. 416, 424, n. 7 (1977).

^ . In addition to meeting the statutory requisites of § 1252, of course, an appeal must present a justiciable case or controversy under Art. III. Such a controversy clearly exists in No. 80-1832, as in the other two cases, because of the presence of the two Houses of Congress as adverse parties. See infra at 939; see also Director, OWCP v. Perini North River Associates, 459 U.S. 297, 302-305 (1982).

^ . In this case, we deem it appropriate to address questions of severability first. But see Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1"]424 U.S. 1, 108-109 (1976); 424 U.S. 1, 108-109 (1976); United States v. Jackson, 390 U.S. 570, 585 (1968).

^ . Without the provision for one-House veto, Congress would presumably retain the power, during the time allotted in § 244(c)(2), to enact a law, in accordance with the requirements of Art. I of the Constitution, mandating a particular alien's deportation, unless, of course, other constitutional principles place substantive limitations on such action. Cf. Attorney General Jackson's attack on H.R. 9766, 76th Cong., 3d Sess. (1940), a bill to require the Attorney General to deport an individual alien. The Attorney General called the bill

an historical departure from an unbroken American practice and tradition. It would be the first time that an act of Congress singled out a named individual for deportation.

S.Rep. No. 2031, 76th Cong., 3d Sess., pt. 1, p. 9 (1940) (reprinting Jackson's letter of June 18, 1940). See n. 17, infra.

^ . Without the one-House veto, § 244 resembles the "report and wait" provision approved by the Court in Sibbach v. Wilson & Co., 312 U.S. 1 (1941). The statute examined in Sibbach provided that the newly promulgated Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

shall not take effect until they shall have been reported to Congress by the Attorney General at the beginning of a regular session thereof and until after the close of such session.

Act of June 19, 1934, ch. 651, § 2, 48 Stat. 1064. This statute did not provide that Congress could unilaterally veto the Federal Rules. Rather, it gave Congress the opportunity to review the Rules before they became effective, and to pass legislation barring their effectiveness if the Rules were found objectionable. This technique was used by Congress when it acted in 1973 to stay, and ultimately to revise, the proposed Rules of Evidence. Compare Act of Mar. 30, 1973, Pub.L. 93-12, 87 Stat. 9, with Act of Jan. 2, 1975, Pub.L. 93-595, 88 Stat.1926.

^ . Depending on how the INS interprets its statutory duty under § 244 apart from the challenged portion of § 244(c)(2), Chadha's status may be retroactively adjusted to that of a permanent resident as of December 19, 1975 — the last session in which Congress could have attempted to stop the suspension of Chadha's deportation from ripening into cancellation of deportation. See 8 U.S.C. § 1254(d). In that event, Chadha's 5-year waiting period to become a citizen under § 316(a) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1427(a), would have elapsed.

^ . Under the Third Circuit's reasoning, judicial review under § 106(a) would not extend to the constitutionality of § 244(c)(2) because that issue could not have been tested during the administrative deportation proceedings conducted under § 242(b). The facts in Dastmalchi are distinguishable, however. In Dastmalchi, Iranian aliens who had entered the United States on nonimmigrant student visas challenged a regulation that required them to report to the District Director of the INS during the Iranian hostage crisis. The aliens reported and were ordered deported after a § 242(b) proceeding. The aliens in Dastmalchi could have been deported irrespective of the challenged regulation. Here, in contrast, Chadha's deportation would have been canceled but for § 244(c)(2).

^ . A relevant parallel can be found in our recent decision in Bob Jones University v. United States, 461 U.S. 574 (1983). There, the United States agreed with Bob Jones University and Goldsboro Christian Schools that certain Revenue Rulings denying tax-exempt status to schools that discriminated on the basis of race were invalid. Despite its agreement with the schools, however, the United States was complying with a court order enjoining it from granting tax-exempt status to any school that discriminated on the basis of race. Even though the Government largely agreed with the opposing party on the merits of the controversy, we found an adequate basis for jurisdiction in the fact that the Government intended to enforce the challenged law against that party. See id. at 585, n. 9.

^ . The suggestion is made that 244(c)(2) is somehow immunized from constitutional scrutiny because the Act containing § 244(c)(2) was passed by Congress and approved by the President. Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137 (1803), resolved that question. The assent of the Executive to a bill which contains a provision contrary to the Constitution does not shield it from judicial review. See Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 740, n. 5 (1979); National League of Cities v. Usery, 426 U.S. 833, 841, n. 12 (1976); Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976); Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926). See also n. 22, infra. In any event, 11 Presidents, from Mr. Wilson through Mr. Reagan, who have been presented with this issue have gone on record at some point to challenge congressional vetoes as unconstitutional. See Henry, The Legislative Veto: In Search of Constitutional Limits, 16 Harv.J.Legis. 735, 737-738, n. 7 (1979) (collecting citations to Presidential statements). Perhaps the earliest Executive expression on the constitutionality of the congressional veto is found in Attorney General William D. Mitchell's opinion of January 24, 1933, to President Hoover. 37 Op.Atty.Gen. 56. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for Presidents to approve legislation containing parts which are objectionable on constitutional grounds. For example, after President Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act of 1941, Attorney General Jackson released a memorandum explaining the President's view that the provision allowing the Act's authorization to be terminated by concurrent resolution was unconstitutional. Jackson, A Presidential Legal Opinion, 66 Harv.L.Rev. 1353 (1953).

^ . The widespread approval of the delegates was commented on by Joseph Story:

In the convention there does not seem to have been much diversity of opinion on the subject of the propriety of giving to the president a negative on the laws. The principal points of discussion seem to have been whether the negative should be absolute, or qualified; and if the latter, by what number of each house the bill should subsequently be passed in order to become a law; and whether the negative should in either case be exclusively vested in the president alone, or in him jointly with some other department of the government.

1 J. Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 611 (3d ed. 1858). See 1 M. Farrand, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, pp. 21, 97-104, 138-140 (1911) (hereinafter Farrand); id. at 73-80, 181, 298, 301-305.

^ . The Great Compromise was considered so important by the Framers that they inserted a special provision to ensure that it could not be altered, even by constitutional amendment, except with the consent of the states affected. See U.S.Const., Art V.

^ . Congress protests that affirming the Court of Appeals in these cases will sanction

lawmaking by the Attorney General. . . . Why is the Attorney General exempt from submitting his proposed changes in the law to the full bicameral process?

Brief for Petitioner in No. 80-2170, p. 40. To be sure, some administrative agency action — rulemaking, for example — may resemble "lawmaking." See 5 U.S.C. § 551(4), which defines an agency's "rule" as

the whole or part of an agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy. . . .

This Court has referred to agency activity as being "quasi-legislative" in character. Humphrey's Executor v. United States, 295 U.S. 602, 628 (1935). Clearly, however,

[i]n the framework of our Constitution, the President's power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker.

Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579, 587 (1952). See Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. at 123. When the Attorney General performs his duties pursuant to § 244, he does not exercise "legislative" power. See Ernst & Ernst v. Hochfelder, 425 U.S. 185, 213-214 (1976). The bicameral process is not necessary as a check on the Executive's administration of the laws, because his administrative activity cannot reach beyond the limits of the statute that created it — a statute duly enacted pursuant to Art. I, §§ 1, 7. The constitutionality of the Attorney General's execution of the authority delegated to him by § 244 involves only a question of delegation doctrine. The courts, when a case or controversy arises, can always "ascertain whether the will of Congress has been obeyed," Yakus v. United States, 321 U.S. 414, 425 (1944), and can enforce adherence to statutory standards. See Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, supra, at 585; Ethyl Corp. v. EPA, 176 U.S.App.D.C. 373, 440, 541 F.2d 1, 68 (en banc) (separate statement of Leventhal, J.), cert. denied, 426 U.S. 941 (1976); L. Jaffe, Judicial Control of Administrative Action 320 (1965). It is clear, therefore, that the Attorney General acts in his presumptively Art. II capacity when he administers the Immigration and Nationality Act. Executive action under legislatively delegated authority that might resemble "legislative" action in some respects is not subject to the approval of both Houses of Congress and the President for the reason that the Constitution does not so require. That kind of Executive action is always subject to check by the terms of the legislation that authorized it; and if that authority is exceeded, it is open to judicial review, as well as the power of Congress to modify or revoke the authority entirely. A one-House veto is clearly legislative in both character and effect, and is not so checked; the need for the check provided by Art. I, §§ 1, 7, is therefore clear. Congress' authority to delegate portions of its power to administrative agencies provides no support for the argument that Congress can constitutionally control administration of the laws by way of a congressional veto.

^ . We express no opinion as to whether such legislation would violate any constitutional provision. See n. 8, supra.

^ . During the Convention of 1787, the application of the President's veto to repeals of statutes was addressed, and the Framers were apparently content with Madison's comment that,

[a]s to the difficulty of repeals, it was probable that, in doubtful cases, the policy would soon take place of limiting the duration of laws as to require renewal instead of repeal.

2 Farrand 587. See Ginnane, The Control of Federal Administration by Congressional Resolutions and Committees, 66 Harv.L.Rev. 569, 587599 (1953). There is no provision allowing Congress to repeal or amend laws by other than legislative means pursuant to Art. I.

^ . This does not mean that Congress is required to capitulate to "the accretion of policy control by forces outside its chambers." Javits & Klein, Congressional Oversight and the Legislative Veto: A Constitutional Analysis, 52 N.Y.U.L.Rev. 455, 462 (1977). The Constitution provides Congress with abundant means to oversee and control its administrative creatures. Beyond the obvious fact that Congress ultimately controls administrative agencies in the legislation that creates them, other means of control, such as durational limits on authorizations and formal reporting requirements, lie well within Congress' constitutional power. See id. at 460-461; Kaiser, Congressional Action to Overturn Agency Rules: Alternatives to the "Legislative Veto," 32 Ad.L.Rev. 667 (1980). See also n. 9, supra.

^ . See also U.S.Const., Art. 11; § 1, and Amdt. 12.

^ . An exception from the Presentment Clauses was ratified in Hollingsworth v. Virginia, 3 Dall. 378 (1798). There the Court held Presidential approval was unnecessary for a proposed constitutional amendment which had passed both Houses of Congress by the requisite two-thirds majority. See U.S.Const., Art. V.

One might also include another "exception" to the rule that congressional action having the force of law be subject to the bicameral requirement and the Presentment Clauses. Each House has the power to act alone in determining specified internal matters. Art. I, § 7, cls. 2, 3, and § 5, cl. 2. However, this "exception" only empowers Congress to bind itself, and is noteworthy only insofar as it further indicates the Framers' intent that Congress not act in any legally binding manner outside a closely circumscribed legislative arena, except in specific and enumerated instances.

Although the bicameral check was not provided for in any of these provisions for independent congressional action, precautionary alternative checks are evident. For example, Art. II, § 2, requires that two-thirds of the Senators present concur in the Senate's consent to a treaty, rather than the simple majority required for passage of legislation. See The Federalist No. 64 (J. Jay); The Federalist No. 66 (A. Hamilton); The Federalist No. 75 (A. Hamilton). Similarly, the Framers adopted an alternative protection, in the stead of Presidential veto and bicameralism, by requiring the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senators present for a conviction of impeachment. Art. I, § 3. We also note that the Court's holding in Hollingsworth, supra, that a resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution need not be presented to the President, is subject to two alternative protections. First, a constitutional amendment must command the votes of two-thirds of each House. Second, three-fourths of the states must ratify any amendment.

^ . JUSTICE POWELL's position is that the one-House veto in this case is a judicial act, and therefore unconstitutional as beyond the authority vested in Congress by the Constitution. We agree that there is a sense in which one-House action pursuant to § 244(c)(2) has a judicial cast, since it purports to "review" Executive action. In this case, for example, the sponsor of the resolution vetoing the suspension of Chadha's deportation argued that Chadha "did not meet [the] statutory requirements" for suspension of deportation. Supra at 926. To be sure, it is normally up to the courts to decide whether an agency has complied with its statutory mandate. See n. 16, supra. But the attempted analogy between judicial action and the one-House veto is less than perfect. Federal courts do not enjoy a roving mandate to correct alleged excesses of administrative agencies; we are limited by Art. III to hearing cases and controversies, and no justiciable case or controversy was presented by the Attorney General's decision to allow Chadha to remain in this country. We are aware of no decision, and JUSTICE POWELL has cited none, where a federal court has reviewed a decision of the Attorney General suspending deportation of an alien pursuant to the standards set out in § 244(a)(1). This is not surprising, given that no party to such action has either the motivation or the right to appeal from it. As JUSTICE WHITE correctly notes, post at 1001-1002,

the courts have not been given the authority to review whether an alien should be given permanent status; review is limited to whether the Attorney General has properly applied the statutory standards for

denying a request for suspension of deportation. Foti v. INS, 375 U.S. 217 (1963), relied on by JUSTICE POWELL, addressed only

whether a refusal by the Attorney General to grant a suspension of deportation is one of those "final orders of deportation" of which direct review by Courts of Appeals is authorized under § 106(a) of the Act.

Id. at 221. Thus, JUSTICE POWELL's statement that the one-House veto in this case is "clearly adjudicatory," post at 964, simply is not supported by his accompanying assertion that the House has "assumed a function ordinarily entrusted to the federal courts." Post at 965. We are satisfied that the one-House veto is legislative in purpose and effect, and subject to the procedures set out in Art. I.

^ . Neither can we accept the suggestion that the one-House veto provision in § 244(c)(2) either removes or modifies the bicameralism and presentation requirements for the enactment of future legislation affecting aliens. See Atkins v. United States, 214 Ct.Cl. 186, 250-251, 556 F.2d 1028, 1063-1064 (1977), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 1009 (1978); Brief for Petitioner in No. 80-2170, p. 40. The explicit prescription for legislative action contained in Art. I cannot be amended by legislation. See n. 13, supra.

JUSTICE WHITE suggests that the Attorney General's action under § 244(c)(1) suspending deportation is equivalent to a proposal for legislation and that, because congressional approval is indicated "by the failure to veto, the one-House veto satisfies the requirement of bicameral approval." Post at 997. However, as the Court of Appeals noted, that approach "would analogize the effect of the one house disapproval to the failure of one house to vote affirmatively on a private bill." 634 F.2d 408, 435 (1980). Even if it were clear that Congress entertained such an arcane theory when it enacted § 244(c)(2), which JUSTICE WHITE does not suggest, this would amount to nothing less than an amending of Art. I. The legislative steps outlined in Art. I are not empty formalities; they were designed to assure that both Houses of Congress and the President participate in the exercise of lawmaking authority. This does not mean that legislation must always be preceded by debate; on the contrary, we have said that it is not necessary for a legislative body to "articulate its reasons for enacting a statute." United states Railroad Retirement Board v. Fritz, 449 U.S. 166, 179 (1980). But the steps required by Art. I, §§ 1, 7, make certain that there is an opportunity for deliberation and debate. To allow Congress to evade the strictures of the Constitution and in effect enact Executive proposals into law by mere silence cannot be squared with Art. I.