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Constitutionality of Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Imposition of Civil Penalties on the Air Force


In the absence of Presidential intervention to review its decision, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission may constitutionally issue an order imposing civil penalties on the Department of the Air Force under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.

Although Congress may not deprive the President of an opportunity to review a decision made by an agency subject to his supervisory authority, the President is not constitutionally required to review all such decisions before they may be lawfully implemented.

Because the Atomic Energy Act gives the Attorney General exclusive authonty and discretion to enforce civil penalties imposed under the Act, an interagency dispute regarding the collection of such penalties would properly be resolved within the executive branch rather than through interagency litigation.

Updated July 9, 2014