Loving v. United States, 517 U.S. 748, 11 (1996)

Page:   Index   Previous  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  Next



Opinion of the Court

deliberative lawmaking. See Chadha, supra, at 951. Ill suited to that task are the Presidency, designed for the prompt and faithful execution of the laws and its own legitimate powers, and the Judiciary, a branch with tenure and authority independent of direct electoral control. The clear assignment of power to a branch, furthermore, allows the citizen to know who may be called to answer for making, or not making, those delicate and necessary decisions essential to governance.

Another strand of our separation-of-powers jurisprudence, the delegation doctrine, has developed to prevent Congress from forsaking its duties. Loving invokes this doctrine to question the authority of the President to promulgate RCM 1004. The fundamental precept of the delegation doctrine is that the lawmaking function belongs to Congress, U. S. Const., Art. I, 1, and may not be conveyed to another branch or entity. Field v. Clark, 143 U. S. 649, 692 (1892). This principle does not mean, however, that only Congress can make a rule of prospective force. To burden Congress with all federal rulemaking would divert that branch from more pressing issues, and defeat the Framers' design of a workable National Government. Thomas Jefferson observed: "Nothing is so embarrassing nor so mischievous in a great assembly as the details of execution." 5 Works of Thomas Jefferson 319 (P. Ford ed. 1904) (letter to E. Carrington, Aug. 4, 1787). See also A. L. A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 295 U. S. 495, 529-530 (1935) (recognizing "the necessity of adapting legislation to complex conditions involving a host of details with which the national legislature cannot deal directly"). This Court established long ago that Congress must be permitted to delegate to others at least some authority that it could exercise itself. Wayman v. Southard, 10 Wheat. 1, 42 (1825).

" 'The true distinction . . . is between the delegation of power to make the law, which necessarily involves a discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring author-

Page:   Index   Previous  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007