Bowsher v. Synar

In Bowsher v. Synar, 478 U.S. 714 (1986), the Court addressed the constitutionality of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, 2 U.S. C. 901 et seq. (1982 ed., Supp. III), which required the President, if the federal budget deficit exceeded a certain amount, to issue a "sequestration" order mandating spending reductions specified by the Comptroller General, 902. The effect of sequestration was that "amounts sequestered .. . shall be permanently cancelled." 902(a)(4). The Court held that the Act was unconstitutional, not because it impermissibly gave the Executive legislative power, but because it gave the Comptroller General, an officer of the Legislative Branch over whom Congress retained removal power, "the ultimate authority to determine the budget cuts to be made," 478 U.S., at 733, "functions . . . plainly entailing execution of the law in constitutional terms," id., at 732-733.