Standing to challenge the Iran deal – Congress and the states (Washington Post)
September 14, 2015
By Eugene Kontorovich
Yesterday the a D.C. Federal district court issues a landmark ruling in House of Representatives v. Burwell, upholding the House of Representatives standing to challenge Executive action under the Affordable Care Act. The question of institutional legislative standing is a fairly novel one, and thus this is an important decision.
Whether it survives on appeal, the decision creates a major and previously unanticipated opening for a congressional lawsuit challenging the Iran Joint Plan of Action. The constitutional argument would focus on the non-transmission of documents required under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (the Corker-Cardin deal), which would seem to satisfy the standing test established by the district court.
Corker-Cardin makes clear that sanctions relief under preexisting statutory authority can only come after a positive vote, or no vote, or an overridden disapproval vote, during the “period of review.” Since the period of review has not started, sanctions relief would be unlawful. Congress suffers an injury by the president’s failure to begin “period of review.” Thus Congress can take no binding action with regard to the JCPA. This undermines Congress’s Article I ability to regulate foreign commerce, and indeed its ability to function as a legislature.