Dalton v. Specter, 511 U.S. 462 (1994)

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certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the third circuit

No. 93-289. Argued March 2, 1994—Decided May 23, 1994

Respondents filed this action under the Administrative Procedure Act

(APA) and the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 (1990 Act), seeking to enjoin the Secretary of Defense (Secretary) from carrying out the President's decision, pursuant to the 1990 Act, to close the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. The District Court dismissed the complaint on the alternative grounds that the 1990 Act itself precluded judicial review and that the political question doctrine foreclosed judicial intervention. In affirming in part and reversing in part, the Court of Appeals held that judicial review of the closure decision was available to ensure that the Secretary and the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (Commission), as participants in the selection process, had complied with the procedural mandates specified by Congress. The court also ruled that this Court's recent decision in Franklin v. Massachusetts, 505 U. S. 788, did not affect the reviewability of respondents' procedural claims because adjudging the President's actions for compliance with the 1990 Act was a form of constitutional review sanctioned by Franklin.

Held: Judicial review is not available for respondents' claims.

Pp. 468-477. (a) A straightforward application of Franklin demonstrates that respondents' claims are not reviewable under the APA. The actions of the Secretary and the Commission are not reviewable "final agency actions" within the meaning of the APA, since their reports recommending base closings carry no direct consequences. See 505 U. S., at 798. Rather, the action that "will directly affect" bases, id., at 797, is taken by the President when he submits his certificate of approval of the recommendations to Congress. That the President cannot pick and choose among bases, and must accept or reject the Commission's closure package in its entirety, is immaterial; it is nonetheless the President, not the Commission, who takes the final action that affects the military installations. See id., at 799. The President's own actions, in turn, are not reviewable under the APA because he is not an "agency" under that Act. See id., at 801. Pp. 468-471. (b) The Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the President's base closure decisions are reviewable for constitutionality. Every action by

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