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Bowsher v. Synar - Significance, The Court Refines The Meaning Of Separation Of Powers, The Balanced Budget And Emergency Deficit Control Act

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Charles A. Bowsher, Comptroller General of the United States


Mike Synar, Member of Congress

Appellant's Claim

That a provision of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Reduction Program of 1985, giving budget-cutting authority--an executive function--to the comptroller general--a legislative branch employee--did not violate the principle of separation of powers.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Lloyd M. Cutler

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Alan B. Morrison

Justices for the Court

William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger (writing for the Court), Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

7 July 1986


By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court struck down the contested provision.

Related Cases

  • Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926).
  • Humphrey's Executor v. United States, 295 U.S. 602 (1935).
  • Wiener v. United States, 357 U.S. 349 (1958).
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