Dalton v. Specter

511 U.S. 462 (1994)


A decision to close the Philadelphia Naval shipyard was the end result of an elaborate selection process made pursuant to the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990. The Act was passed 'to provide a fair process that will result in the timely closure and realignment of military installations inside the United States,' and provides for three successive rounds of base closings -- in 1991, 1993, and 1995. For each round, D must prepare closure and realignment recommendations, based on selection criteria he establishes after notice and an opportunity for public comment. D submits his recommendations to Congress and to the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (Commission), an independent body whose eight members are appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Commission holds public hearings and prepares a report, containing both an assessment of D's recommendations and the Commission's own recommendations for base closures and realignments. The Commission has to submit its report to the President. Within two weeks of receiving the Commission's report, the President must decide whether to approve or disapprove, in their entirety, the Commission's recommendations. If the President disapproves, the Commission has roughly one month to prepare a new report and submit it to the President. If the President again disapproves, no bases may be closed that year under the Act. If the President approves the initial or revised recommendations, the President must submit the recommendations, along with his certification of approval, to Congress. Congress may, within 45 days of receiving the President's certification (or by the date Congress adjourns for the session, whichever is earlier), enact a joint resolution of disapproval. If such a resolution is passed, D may not carry out any closures pursuant to the Act; if such a resolution is not passed, the Secretary must close all military installations recommended for closure by the Commission. Before the President could send his recommendation to Congress, Senator Arlen Specter (Ps) filed suit under the APA seeking an injunction. Ps claimed that Ds had failed to comply with the procedural requirements of the Act. The district court held that Ds' actions were not subject to judicial review. The Court of Appeals reversed. The United States Supreme Court vacated and remanded for reconsideration under Franklin v. Massachusetts, 505 U.S. 788 (1992). The Third Circuit held that Franklin did not apply in this instance. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.