Breyer, J., concurring in judgment
law"). For another thing, as Justice Powell has pointed out, the Constitution's "separation-of-powers" principles reflect, in part, the Framers' "concern that a legislature should not be able unilaterally to impose a substantial deprivation on one person." INS v. Chadha, 462 U. S. 919, 962 (1983) (opinion concurring in judgment). The Framers "expressed" this principle, both in "specific provisions, such as the Bill of Attainder Clause," and in the Constitution's "general allocation of power." Ibid.; see United States v. Brown, 381 U. S. 437, 442 (1965) (Bill of Attainder Clause intended to implement the separation of powers, acting as "a general safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicial function"); Fletcher v. Peck, 6 Cranch 87, 136 (1810) (Marshall, C. J.) ("It is the peculiar province of the legislature to prescribe general rules for the government of society; the application of those rules to individuals in society would seem to be the duty of other departments"); cf. Hurtado v. California, 110 U. S. 516, 535-536 (1884).
Despite these two important "separation-of-powers" concerns, sometimes Congress can enact legislation that focuses upon a small group, or even a single individual. See, e. g., Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 433 U. S. 425, 468-484 (1977); Selective Service System v. Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, 468 U. S. 841, 846-856 (1984); Brown, supra, at 453-456. Congress also sometimes passes private legislation. See Chadha, supra, at 966, n. 9 (Powell, J., concurring in judgment) ("When Congress grants particular individuals relief or benefits under its spending power, the danger of oppressive action that the separation of powers was designed to avoid is not implicated"). And, sometimes Congress can enact legislation that, as a practical matter, radically changes the effect of an individual, previously entered court decree. See Pennsylvania v. Wheeling & Belmont Bridge Co., 18 How. 421 (1856). Statutes that apply prospectively and (in part because of that prospectivity) to an open-ended class of persons, however, are more than sim-Page: Index Previous 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 Next
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