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Title Headnotes
Presidential Authority to Settle Claims of the Hostages and Their Families

The President may agree to a settlement with Iran whereby any tort claims of the hostages and their families against Iran would be extinguished, without working a taking for a public purpose within the Just Compensation Clause of the Fifth Amendment.  This conclusion is reinforced by the difficulty of identifying loss to the hostages and their families as a result of a claims settlement effected to secure their release, and the unlikelihood of their being able to recover in tort against Iran in any event in light of the noncommercial tort provision in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(5).

Standards for Closing a Meeting of the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy

The Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy is subject to the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which provides that advisory committee meetings may be closed to the public only upon a determination that one or more of the exemptions of the Government in the Sunshine Act is applicable.

The December 1980 meeting of the Commission may not be closed in its entirety for national security and foreign policy reasons, insofar as it deals with matters not relating to those issues; the spirit of the Federal Advisory Committee Act requires that the meeting agenda be structured so that classified and other exempt information is considered separately from the main, and congressionally mandated public, policy discussions and decisionmaking activities of the Commission.

Presidential Authority to Permit the Withdrawal of Iranian Assets Now in the Federal Reserve Bank

In order to allow Iran to withdraw its assets in the Federal Reserve Bank, the President has the power, under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), to nullify existing attachments licensed under the Iranian Assets Control Regulations.  Since in consenting to attachments against the blocked Iranian assets the Government reserved the right to revoke its consent at any time, their nullification does not constitute a compensable taking of private property.

The Federal Reserve Bank may release Iranian assets which have been attached but are not yet subject to a licensed final judgment, in reliance on the Presidents’ action under the IEEPA, without applying to the court to vacate its attachment orders.  The considerations which ordinarily mandate compliance with court orders would not justify a contempt citation where the conduct in question has been clearly mandated by supervening executive action, where compliance would defeat the President’s exercise of his emergency power under the IEEPA, and where the IEEPA itself provides an express exception to contempt liability for compliance with an order issued under its authority.

Where Congress has immunized good faith compliance with a presidential order issued under the IEEPA, the Federal Reserve Bank would not be held liable to disappointed attachment creditors even if the presidential orders nullifying the attachment orders were later held unlawful.  Nor is there any basis, in the Constitution or otherwise, on which creditors whose attachments were nullified would be likely to recover against the United States itself.

Authority of the Secretary of the Treasury Under the New York City Loan Guarantee Act of 1978

The authority of the Secretary of the Treasury to issue guarantees under the New York City Loan Guarantee Act of 1978, P.L. No. 95-339 and P.L. No. 95-415, was not affected by a rider in the Senate appropriation bill, H.R. 7631, under § 101(a)(3) of the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, P.L. No. 96-369, 94 Stat. 1351.

Section 101(a)(3) of the Continuing Appropriations Resolution was intended to distinguish between matters considered by both the Senate and the House of Representatives in their appropriations bills, for which the more restrictive of the two provisions on an agency’s authority is to govern, and matters considered by only one House in its appropriations bill, for which the authority and conditions of FY 1980 appropriations are to govern.

The restriction on the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to issue guarantees under the New York City Loan Guarantee Act of 1978 is found only in the Senate version of the appropriations bill pertaining to the New York City Loan Guarantee program and had not been considered by the House of Representatives; therefore, the Senate rider did not operate (under § 101(a)(3) of the Continuing Appropriations Resolution) to restrict the Secretary’s authority to issue New York City loan guarantees.

The Attorney General does not have the authority to issue opinions on questions arising out of a business transaction between a private person and the government when the private person has insisted on receiving an Attorney General opinion for his benefit and the requesting department head has no real concern about the question.

The Attorney General will issue opinions related to business transactions between the government and private persons only when the transaction raises a substantial and genuine issue of law arising in the administration of a Department.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Authority to Investigate a Killing in the Virgin Islands

Under 28 U.S.C. § 533(3), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has authority to conduct an investigation of any “official matters under the control of the Department of Justice.” Since, under 48 U.S.C. § 1617, the United States Attorney for the Virgin Islands is empowered to prosecute serious offenses against local law, including murder, the murder of an immigration judge in the Virgin Islands is within the FBI’s investigative jurisdiction.

Presidential Authority to Control Export of Hazardous Wastes Under the Export Administration Act of 1979

The Export Administration Act of 1979 gives the President authority to impose controls on the export of hazardous wastes.

Under the 1979 Act, the term “export” includes transactions that have substantial economic consequences, even if they do not directly produce revenue by sales.

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