INS v. Chadha

462 U.S. 919 (1983)


Congress passed the Immigration & Nationality Act. This Act gave a variety of powers to a specific administrative agency of the executive branch, the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) (D). D was allowed to determine whether or not an alien should be deported. If deportation was not chosen, the order had to be submitted to Congress. Either the House or the Senate could overrule D and order the alien deported. Three cases consolidated on appeal all presented the question of the constitutionality of this federal statute, which authorized either House of Congress to invalidate a decision of the Attorney General made pursuant to authority delegated by Congress. After a one-house veto effectively overturned the Attorney General's decision to let Chadha (P) and certain other individuals remain in the United States, each instituted an action challenging the constitutionality of the statute. Chadha appealed the deportation order to the Board of Immigration Appeals, again contending that § 244(c)(2) is unconstitutional. The Board held that it had 'no power to declare unconstitutional an act of Congress,' and Chadha's appeal was dismissed. Pursuant to § 106(a) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1105a(a), Chadha filed a petition for review of the deportation order in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Immigration and Naturalization Service agreed with Chadha's position before the Court of Appeals and joined him in arguing that § 244(c)(2) is unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals invited both the Senate and the House of Representatives to file briefs amici curiae. After full briefing and oral argument, the Court of Appeals held that the House was without constitutional authority to order Chadha's deportation; accordingly, it directed the Attorney General 'to cease and desist from taking any steps to deport this alien based upon the resolution enacted by the House of Representatives.' The essence of its holding was that § 244(c)(2) violates the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers. D agreed that the statute was unconstitutional. The court of appeals held that the statute violated the doctrine of separation of powers. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.