US v Curtiss-Wright Export Corp

Key Facts– Congress passed a resolution (not a law) authorizing the President to stop sales of arms to countries involved in the Chaco border dispute. President Roosevelt issued an order prohibiting such sales. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. was indicted for violating the embargo.

Procedural History– Curtiss-Wright Corp. was indicted in District Court, and the Court ruled the legislative delegation of power was improper. Then the United States appealed to the Supreme Court.

Issues– Did Congress improperly delegate legislative authority to the President here? Does the President have the authority to take action of this kind on his own, since this relates to foreign policy?

Holding– The federal government has broad authority on matters of foreign policy, unconstrained by the same rules as domestic policy, and here the government acted appropriately.

Result– Presidential and legislative actions upheld.

Reasoning– Under the Constitution, the President may have enough authority to undertake foreign policy measures like this on his own, because the federal government, and the President in particular, have broad latitude to take action in foreign policy matters under the Constitution. The President’s authority encompasses actions such as those taken here, and when he also has Congress’s backing, his authority is even clearer and less ambiguous.

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