Lichter v. United States

334 U.S. 742 (1948)

Facts: Petitioners challenged that the Renegotiation Act unconstitutionally attempted to delegate legislative power to administrative officials. Renegotiations Act authorized the government to determine and recapture excessive profits by private contractors during war time. Petitioners brought suit challenging the constitutionality of this legislation, arguing improper delegation because the legislation contained too slight a definition of legislative policy and standards.

Issue: Whether Congress can delegate its war making authority to administrative agencies for determining “excessive profits” during wartime.

Holding: Yes. The Supreme Court held that the Renegotiation Act and the Second Renegotiation Act were constitutionally sound because Congress had the express authority, and the laws were necessary and proper for carrying into execution the war powers and especially its power to support armies. The court reviewed the language of the Renegotiation Act and the validity of the delegation of authority. The Renegotiation Act allowed the United States to support the armies. Further, because petitioners failed to petition the tax court for a redetermination of the excessive profits owed, petitioners were not entitled to a review of that issue.

The court held that petitioner taxpayers were required to pay excessive profits to the United States under the Renegotiation Act and the Second Renegotiation Act because Congress had authority to recover excessive profits as part of the war powers granted by the U.S. Constitution. Further, petitioners were not entitled to a redetermination of the tax owed by the tax court because petitioners failed to petition the court for a redetermination.

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