Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mark my ears

As promised, my FindLaw column today examines President Bush's plan to ignore Congressional earmarks in the legislative history of budget bills. Yesterday, Bush issued an executive order doing just that. As I explain in the column, ignoring earmarks is not a bad idea, and given Supreme Court precedent, a legal one at that, but Bush is very poorly positioned to lead the fight against earmarks because: 1) they are small potatoes (about $17 billion annually) compared with the giant fields of potatoes (not to mention blood) he has poured into Iraq and has foregone through tax cuts; and 2) the premise that provisions outside a statute's text are not law is contradicted nearly every time that Bush issues a signing statement asserting his right to contradict a statute's text based on his own idiosyncratic and self-serving interpretation of the Constitution.

Here I'll raise one tangential point. The Administration says it's not bound by earmarks contained only in legislative history, and (in a fact sheet) cites the following language from Cherokee Nation v. Leavitt (2005):
where Congress merely appropriates lump-sum amounts without statutorily restricting what can be done with those funds, a clear inference arises that it does not intend to impose legally binding restrictions, and indicia in committee reports and other legislative history as to how the funds should or are expected to be spent do not establish any legal requirements on the agency . . . .
(quoting Lincoln v. Vigil (1993), and in turn other cases). It's worth asking why the Court is uniformly hostile to legislative history in interpreting appropriations measures when the Justices remain divided over the relevance, if any, of legislative history in interpreting other statutes. For instance, even in Cherokee Nation itself, on a slightly different point, Justice Scalia wrote a separate concurrence restating his longstanding view that committee reports are just about always irrelevant to statutory interpretation. But he was the only Justice to make this point.

Let me suggest my solution to the puzzle: There isn't in fact a different rule regarding the relevance of legislative history for appropriations measures and other statutes; it's just that even those Justices who care about legislative history in general accept that it only comes into play where the statutory text is ambiguous; and where a statute's text makes a lump-sum grant to an agency, that pretty unambiguously confers on the agency the discretion to spend the money as it sees fit (consistent with other legal restrictions). But, I would venture that if the terms of an appropriation really were ambiguous, then the Justices who reject the Scalia view of legislative history in general would be willing to look to an earmark contained in a committee report for evidence of what Congress intended in the appropriation.

Posted by Mike Dorf

14 comments:

Sobek said...

What would such a hypothetical, ambiguous appropriation look like?

egarber said...

What would such a hypothetical, ambiguous appropriation look like?

just a quick thought --

Maybe if spending generally applied to something like "urban infrastructure" -- but in the history there was supporting committee documentation establishing the scope to be metro-areas generally (including the burbs). Such information might clear up any confusion about whether "urban" might just mean "inner city", etc.

Michael C. Dorf said...

egarber provides a nice example, but note that in his example, the relevant agency would use the earmark as evidence of the sorts of projects that could be funded under the program; it would not, in virtue of the earmark, be required to fund that particular project. this is likely to be the typical case. the earmark would get funded if the agency wants to fund it, thinks the language of the statute may forbid the funding (as in the use of "urban" in egarber's example), but then turns to the earmark to bolster its conclusion that funding is permitted, and goes ahead and funds the earmark. given the sort of "iron triangle" relationships that tend to exist among congressional oversight and funding committes, agencies, and industry, i could see this sort of thing happening with some regularity.

egarber said...

I guess a follow up question for Mike is:

Suppose in my example there was *no* earmark in the legislative history, but the agency decides on its own to read "urban" to include the northern Atlanta suburbs, and throws money my way for a new DOL research center.

1. Might a court rule that the action violates the statute?

andy said...

"Earmarks Are Small Potatoes Compared to the Revenue Consumed and Lost by the Bush Administration's Spending and Taxing Decisions"

I don't think the relative size of earmarks matters all that much. Rather, as senators and congressmen have pointed out, the real problem with earmarks is that they "grease the wheels" for enacting bad legislation.

That is, senators/reps will agree to vote for something they wouldn't otherwise vote for in exchange for some dubious earmark. The facilitation of bad legislation is the true evil of earmarks.

Of course, one might argue that more legislation is good and that earmarks are salutary, in that they allow more legislation. I'd prefer that legislation go through when a rep thinks it's good, rather than because he got an earmark, though.

andy said...

"Earmarks are suspect, the President says, because they go beyond what the formal text of appropriations laws say. But at least earmarks do not contradict the enacted text."

I don't find this point very convincing. Sometimes the legislative history will say that e.g. a particular income tax deduction will be denied starting 1/1/87. Then, the committee report might say that this rule will not "apply to a project started on 4/4/86" or something along those lines. Giveaways in legislative history often do contradict statutory text (Maybe appropriations bills are always different from tax bills in this regard, but I doubt it).

Additionally, I don't think there is anything more wrong with issuing an EO that contradicts the text than issuing a committee report that does the same. The evil is not in writing the EO or committee report, but in the subsequent decision to give the EO or committee report legal effect. Much better that interested parties are aware of the Exec's plan to ignore the law than for the Exec to just do it silently.

泡面 said...

免費A片, ut聊天室, AV女優, 美女視訊, 免費成人影片, 成人論壇, 情色交友, 免費AV, 線上a片, 日本美女寫真集, 同志聊天室, 聊天室交友, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 色情網站, 辣妹視訊, 美女交友, 微風成人區, 色美媚部落格, 色情影片, 成人影片, 成人網站, 免費A片, 上班族聊天室, A片,H漫, 18成人, a漫, av dvd, 一夜情聊天室, 微風成人, 成人圖片, 成人漫畫, 情色網, 日本A片, 免費A片下載, 性愛, 成人交友, 嘟嘟成人網, 嘟嘟成人網, 成人貼圖, 成人電影, 成人, 中部人聊天室, 080中部人聊天室, 成人貼圖, 成人小說, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 免費成人影片, 成人遊戲, 微風成人, 愛情公寓, 成人電影, A片, 情色, 情色貼圖, 情色文學, 做愛, 成人遊戲, 成人影城, 色情聊天室, 色情小說, 一葉情貼圖片區, 情色小說, 色情, 寄情築園小遊戲, 色情遊戲, 成人網站, 麗的色遊戲, 色情網站, 成人論壇, 情色視訊, 情色電影, aio交友愛情館, 言情小說, 愛情小說, 色情A片, 情色論壇, 自拍, 癡漢, ,

樂部
, 豆豆聊天室, 聊天室, 色情影片, 視訊聊天室, 免費視訊聊天, 免費視訊, 視訊美女, 視訊交友, 視訊聊天, 伊莉討論區, AV, 免費視訊聊天室, a片下載, aV, av片, A漫, av dvd, UT聊天室, 尋夢園聊天室, av成人網, 聊天室, 成人論壇, 正妹牆, 正妹百人斬, aio,伊莉, 本土自拍, 自拍, A片, 愛情公寓, 情色, 舊情人, 男同志聊天室, 色色網, ,嘟嘟情人色網, UT男同志聊天室, 情色貼圖, 情色文學, 情色交友, 色情聊天室, 色情小說, 成人聊天室, 成人小說, 一葉情貼圖片區, 情色小說, 日本A片, 成人網站, 色情, 色情遊戲, 情色視訊, 情色電影, 聊天室尋夢園, 080聊天室, aio交友愛情館, 色情a片, 一夜情, 辣妹視訊, 視訊聊天室, 免費視訊聊天, 情色論壇, 做愛, 做愛影片, av片, 色情網站, 免費視訊, 視訊, 視訊美女, 美女視訊, 女同志聊天室, 小高聊天室, 視訊交友, 視訊聊天, 免費視訊聊天室, 情人視訊網, 080苗栗人聊天室, 6K聊天室, 影音視訊聊天室, 視訊交友90739, 成人影片, 成人交友, 本土自拍, 美女交友, 情色聊天室, 寄情築園小遊戲, AV女優, A片下載,

路傑 said...

免費A片, ut聊天室, AV女優, 美女視訊, 免費成人影片, 成人論壇, 情色交友, 免費AV, 線上a片, 日本美女寫真集, 同志聊天室, 聊天室交友, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 色情網站, 辣妹視訊, 美女交友, 微風成人區, 色美媚部落格, 色情影片, 成人影片, 成人網站, 免費A片, 上班族聊天室, A片,H漫, 18成人, a漫, av dvd, 一夜情聊天室, 微風成人, 成人圖片, 成人漫畫, 情色網, 日本A片, 免費A片下載, 性愛, 成人交友, 嘟嘟成人網, 嘟嘟成人網, 成人貼圖, 成人電影, 成人, 中部人聊天室, 080中部人聊天室, 成人貼圖, 成人小說, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 免費成人影片, 成人遊戲, 微風成人, 愛情公寓, 成人電影, A片, 情色, 情色貼圖, 情色文學, 做愛, 成人遊戲, 成人影城, 色情聊天室, 色情小說, 一葉情貼圖片區, 情色小說, 色情, 寄情築園小遊戲, 色情遊戲, 成人網站, 麗的色遊戲, 色情網站, 成人論壇, 情色視訊, 情色電影, aio交友愛情館, 言情小說, 愛情小說, 色情A片, 情色論壇, 自拍, 癡漢, , 俱樂部, 豆豆聊天室, 聊天室, 色情影片, 視訊聊天室, 免費視訊聊天, 免費視訊, 視訊交友90739 情人視訊網影音視訊聊天室 免費視訊聊天室 視訊聊天 視訊交友 美女視訊 視訊美女 視訊 免費視訊 免費視訊聊天 視訊聊天室 辣妹視訊 一夜情 色情a片 aio交友愛情館 情色電影 情色視訊 色情遊戲 色情 情色小說 一葉情貼圖片區 色情小說 色情聊天室 情色交友 成人論壇 成人網站 色情網站 情色論壇 小高聊天室 女同志聊天室 6K聊天室 080苗栗人聊天室 080聊天室 聊天室尋夢園 UT男同志聊天室 男同志聊天室 尋夢園聊天室 UT聊天室 聊天室 豆豆聊天室 A片 成人電影 成人貼圖 嘟嘟成人網 美女交友 本土自拍 成人交友 成人影片http://ssff01.3b8mm.com/

kutyhgvd said...

It is the knight noah which makes me very happy these days, my brother says knight gold is his favorite games gold he likes, he usually knight online gold to start his game and most of the time he will win the knight online noah back and give me some cheap knight gold to play the game.

. said...

酒店喝酒,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,制服店,便服店,鋼琴酒吧,兼差,酒店兼差,酒店打工,伴唱小姐,暑假打工,酒店上班,日式酒店,舞廳,ktv酒店,酒店,酒店公關,酒店小姐,理容院,日領,龍亨,學生兼差,酒店兼差,酒店上班,酒店打工,禮服酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,經紀 彩色爆米花,經紀人 彩色爆米花,酒店傳播,酒店經紀 彩色爆米花,爆米花,童裝,童裝拍賣,童裝大盤,童裝寄賣,童裝批貨,酒店,酒店,童裝切貨,酒店,GAP童裝,酒店,酒店 ,禮服店 , 酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,招待所,

wsty said...

www.eshooes.com .
www.pumafr.com.
www.myshoess.com.
[url=http://www.pumafr.com]puma shoes[/url]
[url=http://www.eshooes.com]chaussures puma[/url]
[url=http://www.myshoess.com]nike air max ltd[/url]

伊凡姐姐 said...

酒店喝酒

酒店消費

喝花酒

粉味


寒假打工




酒店經紀找茵悅

台北酒店經紀

酒店兼職找茵悅

酒店打工找茵悅

酒店兼差找茵悅

酒店上班找茵悅

酒店工作找茵悅

禮服店找茵悅

酒店pt

打工兼職找茵悅

打工兼差找茵悅

酒店領檯找茵悅

酒店公關

酒店小姐

酒店經紀ㄚ君姐姐 said...

,,姐.,便服/,,

freefun0616 said...

酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店經紀, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店工作, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀,,