INS v. Chadha


An immigration law passed by Congress holds that the attorney general can suspend the deportation of an illegal immigrant if the immigrant would sustain “severe hardship” as a result.  Additionally, if either the Senate or House of Representatives voted by majority to veto the attorney general’s decision regarding deportation.  Chadha was a student who had remained in the US with an expired Visa.  The attorney general held that he should remain in the US due to hardship.  The House of Representatives vetoed the decision to grant amnesty, thereby sustaining the deportation order.  Chadha brought this litigation after the legislative veto.


Whether a single house can vote to override an executive decision such that it violates the principle of separation of powers.


Yes, Act invalidated.  The court recognize the argument of “efficiency” regarding a single house vote.  Efficiency is achieved by this measure because the attorney general may frequently override deportation and calling both houses of the legislature to vote for each instance would be time consuming and burdensome.  However, the constitution is very clear that legislative decisions are to be bicameral.  There are reasons relating to fair representation of states that maintain this justification as paramount, particularly when weighed against arguments of efficiency.   The act of overriding an executive veto is inherently legislative and therefore requires bicameral, legislative support.

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