Taking Steel Seizure Seriously: The Iran Nuclear Agreement and the Separation of Powers

Fordham Law Review, Aug 2018

This Article examines the constitutional validity of President Obama’s decision, as part of his 2015 agreement with Iran, effectively to repeal seventeen different sanctions provisions for the fifteen-year life of the agreement. Although Congress had legislated extensively in this area, the President effected this change by entering into a “nonbinding political agreement” with Iran and by aggregating individual waiver provisions in the sanctions laws into an across-the-board waiver of sanctions. We argue that the commitments made by the President in the Iran agreement violate a fundamental separation-of-powers limit on executive power—what we term the Steel Seizure principle,” after Youngstown—the Steel Seizure case. As the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed in Steel Seizure, the President does not have lawmaking power even where national security and foreign relations concerns are at stake. A vast literature has grown around Steel Seizure, especially its influential concurring opinion by Justice Robert Jackson. Yet relatively little attention has been paid to the majority view of the Justices that President Truman’s seizure order was unlawful not because it contravened any express statutory prohibition but because it flouted the congressional “plan” for addressing the particular policy issue. This aspect of Steel Seizure highlights what is particularly problematic about President Obama’s decision to aggregate authorities in the sanctions laws and to commit the United States to an across-the-board waiver of nuclear-related sanctions pursuant to his agreement with Iran. President Obama treated the waiver provisions as an invitation to end the congressionally prescribed sanctions regime for addressing Iran’s nuclear weapons program and to replace it with his own nonsanctions regime for addressing the same issue. Yet the President lacks the unilateral power to overturn Congress’s prescribed policy and to replace it with his own.The President can be viewed both as an agent and, particularly in the foreign relations area, as a co-principal with Congress. The Steel Seizure principle highlights the limits of the co-principal conception of the President’s role in foreign affairs. Once Congress has developed a legislative framework for a subject matter, that framework occupies the field; the President’s role becomes one of a responsible agent. In the Iran sanctions laws, Congress provided bounded waiver authority, acting responsibly to allow limited executive discretion rather than requiring the President to seek new legislation each time flexibility was needed. It did not, however, invite the President to override the sanctions framework altogether. An emergent literature in administrative law and U.S. foreign relations

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Taking Steel Seizure Seriously: The Iran Nuclear Agreement and the Separation of Powers

Taking Steel Seizure Seriously: The Iran Nuclear Agreement and the Separation of Powers Samuel Estreicher 0 1 0 George Mason University Scalia Law School 1 New York University School of Law , USA Recommended Citation - Article 9 Erratum Law; Constitutional Law; Legislation; Military, War, and Peace; National Security Law; President/Executive Department; Transnational Law; International Law This article is available in Fordham Law Review: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/flr/vol86/iss3/9 Samuel Estreicher* & Steven Menashi** This Article examines the constitutional validity of President Obama’s decision, as part of his 2015 agreement with Iran, effectively to repeal seventeen different sanctions provisions for the fifteen-year life of the agreement. Although Congress had legislated extensively in this area, the President effected this change by entering into a “nonbinding political agreement” with Iran and by aggregating individual waiver provisions in the sanctions laws into an across-the-board waiver of sanctions. We argue that the commitments made by the President in the Iran agreement violate a fundamental separation-of-powers limit on executive power—what we term “the Steel Seizure principle,” after Youngstown—the Steel Seizure case. As the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed in Steel Seizure, the President does not have lawmaking power even where national security and foreign relations concerns are at stake. A vast literature has grown around Steel Seizure, especially its influential concurring opinion by Justice Robert Jackson. Yet relatively little attention has been paid to the majority view of the Justices that President Truman’s seizure order was unlawful not because it contravened any express statutory prohibition but because it flouted the congressional “plan” for addressing the particular policy issue. This aspect of Steel Seizure highlights what is particularly problematic about President Obama’s decision to aggregate authorities in the sanctions laws and to commit the United States to an across-the-board waiver of nuclear-related sanctions pursuant to his agreement with Iran. President Obama treated the waiver provisions as an invitation to end the congressionally prescribed sanctions regime for addressing Iran’s nuclear weapons program and to replace it with his own nonsanctions regime for addressing the same issue. Yet the President lacks the unilateral power to overturn Congress’s prescribed policy and to replace it with his own. * Dwight D. Opperman Professor of Law, New York University School of Law. ** Assistant Professor of Law, George Mason University Scalia Law School. The authors thank Daniel Katz and Daniel Shapiro for research assistance and Laurence Gold, Thomas Lee, Peter Margulies, Neomi Rao, Paul Stephan, and the participants in the 2016 Manne Faculty Forum at George Mason University for helpful comments. All remaining errors lie with us. The President can be viewed both as an agent and, particularly in the foreign relations area, as a co-principal with Congress. The Steel Seizure principle highlights the limits of the co-principal conception of the President’s role in foreign affairs. Once Congress has developed a legislative framework for a subject matter, that framework occupies the field; the President’s role becomes one of a responsible agent. In the Iran sanctions laws, Congress provided bounded waiver authority, acting responsibly to allow limited executive discretion rather than requiring the President to seek new legislation each time flexibility was needed. It did not, however, invite the President to override the sanctions framework altogether. An emergent literature in administrative law and U.S. foreign relations law has praised Congress’s willingness to delegate waiver authority to the President for providing needed flexibility and other policy benefits. Yet that literature recognizes that the President’s exercise of waiver authority must be carefully circumscribed to avoid enabling the President effectively to revise a statutory regime out of disagreement with Congress’s policy choices. Such limiting principles are no less necessary in the foreign affairs context, where President Obama used purported waiver authority in the Iran sanctions statutes to pursue his own policy in defiance of Congress. INTRODUCTION........................................................................................ 1201  I. THE STEEL SEIZURE PRINCIPLE............................................................ 1206  A. The Steel Seizure Case ........................................................... 1207  B. The Steel Seizure Principle in Foreign Affairs....................... 1211  II. THE PRACTICE OF SOLE EXECUTIVE AGREEMENTS .......................... 1215  III. THE IRAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT AND CONGRESSIONAL POLICY... 1228  CONCLUSION ........................................................................................... 1249  2017] INTRODUCTION When President Obama signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a 2015 agreement with Iran concerning its nuclear program, he committed the United States to cease enforcing a sanctions regime that Congress had imposed on Iran through legislation over the preceding thirty years.1 The European Union also agreed to lift the sanctions it had imposed, but it adopted implementing legislation in order to do so.2 The President sought no legislation to implement the agreement; the government instead acted “pursuant to Presidential authorities” to “ceas[e] the application of the statutory nuclear-related sanctions.”3 The President’s commitment involved a reversal of the usual course of lawmaking. Typically, Congress legislates a policy framework, and the President must act within that framework unless it is altered by statute or by treaty.4 Overturning that framework requires a new law supported by both houses of Congress. Absent legislation or a treaty—both of which require affirmative congressional support—the President may defy legislation5 only in the limited area where the President has exclusive executive authority that Congress cannot countermand.6 The Obama administration never claimed that the decision to impose or to lift sanctions on a foreign state is an area of 1. See Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action annex II, at 8, U.S. DEP’T ST. (July 14, 2015), https://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/iran/jcpoa/ [https://perma.cc/7K3R-JL5Y] (“The United States commits to cease the application of, and to seek such legislative action as may be appropriate to terminate, or modify to effectuate the termination of, all nuclear-related sanctions as specified in Sections 4.1-4.9 below.”); see also id. at 12 (providing “[t]he United States commits to” authorize other trade measures previously the subject of prohibition). 2. See id. annex V, at 1–2 (“The EU and its Member States will adopt an EU Regulation, taking effect as of Implementation Day, terminating all provisions of the EU Regulation implementing all nuclear-related economic and financial EU sanctions as specified in Section 16.1 of this Annex.”); see also EUR. UNION EXTERNAL ACTION, INFORMATION NOTE ON EU SANCTIONS TO BE LIFTED UNDER THE JOINT COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF ACTION (JCPOA) 13 (2016), http://eeas.europa.eu/archives/docs/top_stories/pdf/iran_implementation/information _note_eu_sanctions_jcpoa_en.pdf [https://perma.cc/3LTT-MPLT] (“It is through the adoption of legal acts providing the legislative framework for the lifting of EU sanctions that the European Union implements UN Security Council resolution 2231 ( 2015 ) in accordance with the JCPOA.”). 3. Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, supra note 1, annex V, at 2. 4. See U.S. CONST. art. VI, cl. 2. 5. For discussion on the President’s power to terminate treaties, see infra note 196. 6. Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (Steel Seizure), 343 U.S. 579, 587 (1952) (“In the framework of our Constitution, the President’s power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker. The Constitution limits his functions in the lawmaking process to the recommending of laws he thinks wise and the vetoing of laws he thinks bad. And the Constitution is neither silent nor equivocal about who shall make laws which the President is to execute.”); see also id. at 637–38 (Jackson, J., concurring) (“When the President takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress, his power is at its lowest ebb, for then he can rely only upon his own constitutional powers minus any constitutional powers of Congress over the matter. Courts can sustain exclusive presidential control in such a case only by disabling the Congress from acting upon the subject.”). exclusive presidential authority, and any such claim would be highly doubtful.7 In the case of the Iran nuclear agreement, the President could not proceed either by statute or by treaty because majorities in both houses of Congress opposed the pact.8 Instead, the President acted on the basis of authorities he argued he already possessed. First, the administration claimed that the JCPOA was a nonbinding political commitment that the President could make on his own rather than a legally binding treaty that required congressional approval.9 It is generally recognized that the President may “establish commitments of an exclusively political or moral nature” by 7. See Barclays Bank PLC v. Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal., 512 U.S. 298, 329 (1994) (“The Constitution expressly grants Congress, not the President, the power to ‘regulate Commerce with foreign Nations.’” (quoting U.S. CONST. art. I, § 8, cl. 3)). This power includes the imposition of sanctions or embargoes. See Buttfield v. Stranahan, 192 U.S. 470, 492–93 (1904) (“[I]t is not to be doubted that from the beginning Congress has exercised a plenary power in respect to the exclusion of merchandise brought from foreign countries; not alone directly by the enactment of embargo statutes, but indirectly as a necessary result of provisions contained in tariff legislation. It has also, in other than tariff legislation, exerted a police power over foreign commerce by provisions which in and of themselves amounted to the assertion of the right to exclude merchandise at discretion.”); see also David H. Moore, Taking Cues from Congress: Judicial Review, Congressional Authorization, and the Expansion of Presidential Power, 90 NOTRE DAME L. REV. 1019, 1037–38 ( 2015 ) (“The Constitution . . . explicitly grants Congress the power ‘[t]o regulate Commerce with foreign Nations.’ The Supreme Court has described this power as ‘plenary,’ ‘complete,’ ‘exclusive and absolute,’ and has recognized congressional supremacy over the executive in foreign commerce.” (footnotes omitted) (quoting U.S. CONST. art. I, § 8, cl. 3)); Saikrishna B. Prakash & Michael D. Ramsey, The Executive Power over Foreign Affairs, 111 YALE L.J. 231, 349 (2001) (“[R]egulation of commerce with foreign nations—including embargoes—was encompassed by Congress’s express Article I, Section 8 power. . . . [T]here was no discussion of the President imposing an embargo (or other regulation of commerce) during the Washington Administration; these matters were handled in Congress.” (footnote omitted)). 8. Majorities in both houses eventually voted to express disapproval of the agreement. See Erin Kelly, Democrats Block Senate Vote to Reject Iran Nuclear Deal for Second Time, USA TODAY (Sept. 15, 2015) [hereinafter Kelly, Senate Vote], https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/09/15/democrats-block-senate-vote-reject-irannuclear-deal-second-time/72317408/ [https://perma.cc/C6UC-DRZB] (“Senators voted 56-42 in favor of bringing to the floor a resolution of disapproval opposing the Iran deal.”); Erin Kelly, House Votes to Reject Iran Nuclear Deal, But Action Has Little Impact, USA TODAY (Sept. 11, 2015) [hereinafter Kelly, House Vote], https://www.usatoday.com/story/ news/2015/09/11/house-votes-reject-iran-nuclear-deal-but-action-has-littleimpact/72061716/ [https://perma.cc/9QLY-JPB3]. For a discussion of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, see infra Part III.D. 9. See Letter from Julia Frifield, Assistant Sec’y, Legislative Affairs, U.S. Dep’t of State, to Mike Pompeo, U.S. Rep. From Kan. (Nov. 19, 2015), http://pompeo.house.gov/ uploadedfiles/151124_-_reply_from_state_regarding_jcpoa.pdf [https://web.archive.org/ web/20160310175929/http://pompeo.house.gov/uploadedfiles/151124_-_reply_from_state_ regarding_jcpoa.pdf] (“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document. The JCPOA reflects political commitments between Iran, the P5+1 (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China), and the European Union. As you know, the United States has a long-standing practice of addressing sensitive problems in negotiations that culminate in political commitments.”); Jen Psaki, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep’t of State, State Department Daily Press Briefing (Mar. 10, 2015), https://2009-2017.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/ 2015/03/238718.htm [https://perma.cc/FZ2P-XMTN] (describing the JCPOA as involving “a multilateral understanding between many countries,” “political commitments,” and “nonbinding arrangements”). 2017] stating how he will act pursuant to his constitutional or statutory authorities in response to the actions of other countries.10 Second, the President concluded he could lift the sanctions based on congressionally delegated authority in the existing sanctions legislation.11 As a general matter, when authorizing the President to impose sanctions on Iran or those doing business with Iran, Congress provided that the President could grant limited waivers in order to exempt certain persons, entities, or financial transactions from penalties when the national interest so required.12 To comply with the commitments he made in the JCPOA, however, President Obama invoked these waiver provisions in tandem to cease altogether enforcing sanctions provisions related to Iran’s nuclear program.13 Both steps in President Obama’s reasoning are problematic. First, it is not clear that the JCPOA is a nonbinding political commitment. The text of the agreement provides that Iran and the other signatories “will take the following voluntary measures within the timeframe as detailed in this JCPOA,” which simultaneously describes its provisions as voluntary and obligatory.14 The “U.S. Administration,” meanwhile, is obliged to “refrain from re-introducing or re-imposing the sanctions . . . that it has ceased applying under th[e] JCPOA” and to “refrain from imposing new nuclearrelated sanctions” for the fifteen-year life of the agreement, which extends beyond President Obama’s tenure in office.15 So the agreement purports not simply to explain how the Obama administration intended to act in response to Iranian activities but to govern the actions of succeeding administrations— that is, to treat President Obama’s waivers of sanctions enforcement as an ongoing obligation of the United States.16 Second, and more fundamentally, the President’s across-the-board exercise of waiver authority contradicts the expressed intent of Congress in the sanctions statutes. Congress authorized the President to waive the application of sanctions penalties in individual cases.17 The limited waiver provisions stand in contrast to the “sunset provisions” of the same legislation, which allow for the wholesale cessation of sanctions only if the President certifies to Congress that Iran has stopped supporting terrorism and ceased pursuing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons as well as ballistic missile technology.18 President Obama did not make the certifications required for across-the-board lifting of sanctions but made use of the more limited waiver provisions to the same end.19 That Congress did not intend the waiver provisions to authorize a comprehensive lifting of sanctions is apparent not only from the contrast between the waiver and sunset provisions but also from other restrictions on waivers in the sanctions legislation. Under one such statute, the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012, the President may waive the imposition of sanctions “for a period of not more than 180 days,” which he may renew “for additional periods of not more than 180 days” if he submits to the appropriate congressional committees a report providing a national security justification for the waiver.20 Accordingly, to comply with his commitments under the JCPOA, the President must return to Congress every 180 days with a report justifying his decision to renew the time-limited waiver. It is difficult, as we set out in detail below, to read the sanctions legislation as authorizing the President to cobble together the individual waiver provisions throughout the statutory sanctions framework and extend numerous blanket waivers simultaneously in order to grant Iran systematic sanctions relief without having to go back to Congress.21 In doing so, the President did not act within the legislative framework established by Congress but essentially overturned that framework.22 That he did so in order 17. 50 U.S.C. § 1701 note sec. 4(c)(1)(A) ( 2012 ) (“The President may, on a case by case basis, waive for a period of not more than six months the application of section 5(a) with respect to a national of a country, if the President certifies to the appropriate congressional committees at least 30 days before such waiver is to take effect that such waiver is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”); see also infra Part III.A. 18. 50 U.S.C. § 1701 note sec. 8. 19. See infra notes 246, 259, 265, 283 and accompanying text. 20. 22 U.S.C. § 8804(g) ( 2012 ). 21. See infra Parts III.A, IV. 22. Even defenders of “big waiver”—the view that statutes may properly authorize the President to waive important substantive provisions—agree that any exercise of waiver authority must be “justified as being within the statutory enactment.” David J. Barron & Todd D. Rakoff, In Defense of Big Waiver, 113 COLUM. L. REV. 265, 332 (2013) (“[W]aiver should therefore have to be justified as being within the statutory enactment, as carrying forward one or more of what can be reasonably thought to be the purposes of the statute.”); Zachary S. Price, Seeking Baselines for Negative Authority: Constitutional and Rule-of-Law Arguments over Nonenforcement and Waiver, 8 J. LEGAL ANALYSIS 235, 265–66 (2016) (“In allowing waivers, Congress presumably did not intend to authorize outright cancelation of statutory provisions based on mere executive disagreement with statutory requirements.”); see also infra Part IV. 2017] to comply with a political commitment made on his own unilateral authority—even if to undergird an agreement with a foreign state—does not justify disregarding the legislative framework Congress has established. The President’s exercise of unilateral authority evidenced in the Iran nuclear agreement violates the constitutional separation of powers. Altering the governing legal framework set by Congress requires an exercise of legislative power, and the President is not a lawmaker.23 This point has been missed in the debate over the JCPOA and the academic literature on sole executive agreements. That literature focuses almost exclusively on whether and under what circumstances the President must act pursuant to the treaty power rather than concluding agreements on his own authority or with congressional assent.24 Accordingly, critics of the JCPOA have argued that the agreement represents an evasion of the treaty power.25 Defenders of the agreement’s legality have praised the President’s “creative lawyers” for effectuating “significant changes in U.S. domestic law without recourse to a congressional vote” by utilizing “delegated authority from Congress that Congress had no idea would lead to such” changes.26 Neither side grapples with what might be termed “the Steel Seizure principle”—that the President lacks the authority to change enacted law without congressional authorization and must respect the framework established by Congress. All concede that the President cannot contravene congressional requirements; the Steel Seizure principle extends the limit on presidential action to include the policies embodied in the legislated framework even if no express statutory prohibition is directly violated.27 The President acts unlawfully, even in the foreign relations area, when he acts in derogation of the extant legislative framework—that is, when he fails to follow “the plan Congress adopted” for dealing with the particular subject 23. Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (Steel Seizure), 343 U.S. 579, 589 (1952) (“The Founders of this Nation entrusted the law making power to the Congress alone in both good and bad times.”). 24. See, e.g., LOUIS HENKIN, FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND THE U.S. CONSTITUTION 175–230 (2d ed. 1996); HAROLD HONGJU KOH, THE NATIONAL SECURITY CONSTITUTION 40–45 (1990); Bradford R. Clark, Domesticating Sole Executive Agreements, 93 VA. L. REV. 1573, 1574–78 (2007); Jack Goldsmith, The Contributions of the Obama Administration to the Practice and Theory of International Law, 57 HARV. INT’L L.J. 455, 464 (2016); Hollis & Newcomer, supra note 10, at 514–15; Ramsey, supra note 16, at 371–73; Michael D. Ramsey, Executive Agreements and the (Non)Treaty Power, 77 N.C. L. REV. 133, 134–39 (1998); Ingrid Brunk Wuerth, The Dangers of Deference: International Claim Settlement by the President, 44 HARV. INT’L L.J. 1, 11–14 (2003). 25. See, e.g., David B. Rivkin Jr. & Lee A. Casey, The Lawless Underpinnings of the Iran Nuclear Deal, WALL ST. J. (Jul. 26, 2015, 6:32 PM), https://www.wsj.com/articles/thelawless-underpinnings-of-the-iran-nuclear-deal-1437949928 [https://perma.cc/WB4ULAUT]; see also Ramsey, supra note 16, at 380–84. 26. Goldsmith, supra note 24, at 467, 473. 27. See Steel Seizure, 343 U.S. at 602 (Frankfurter, J., concurring) (“It cannot be contended that the President would have had power to issue this order had Congress explicitly negated such authority in formal legislation. Congress has expressed its will to withhold this power from the President as though it had said so in so many words.”); see also infra Part I.A. matter, in the words of Justice Hugo Black’s opinion for the Court in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (Steel Seizure).28 This Article focuses on the Steel Seizure principle and its implications for the Iran nuclear agreement as well as similar actions testing the limits of executive authority. Part I reviews the separation of powers jurisprudence of Steel Seizure and subsequent cases that affirm the President is not a lawmaker even in the realm of foreign affairs. Next, Part II considers the practice of sole executive agreements and concludes that there is no well-established practice of, or basis for claiming congressional acquiescence to, the use of a sole executive agreement to bypass the legislated framework for dealing with a particular subject matter. Part III then argues that in committing the United States to the JCPOA without congressional authorization, the President violated the Steel Seizure principle by acting in disregard of congressionally mandated policy. Part IV concludes with a discussion of the separation of powers implications of the President’s claimed exercise of waiver authority in connection with the JCPOA. Together, these Parts show that the President’s authority to enter into sole executive agreements or to take other executive action is limited by the President’s duty to honor “the will of Congress as expressed by a body of enactments” as he exercises the executive power.29 I. THE STEEL SEIZURE PRINCIPLE An essential feature of our system of separated powers is that the President “cannot of himself make a law.”30 The President’s lack of legislative power has important implications for foreign affairs. In particular, the President may have authority unilaterally to set foreign policy in areas where Congress has not legislated, as part of the residual foreign affairs authority encompassed within “the executive power.”31 But where Congress has legislated—for example, by establishing a statutory sanctions framework for dealing with Iran and those with whom it does business—altering (including departing from) the legislative framework requires an exercise of legislative power, which the President lacks.32 The legislative framework encompasses the substantive provisions of law and excludes alternative approaches that were rejected by Congress or are otherwise incompatible with the policy choices Congress has made. The President may not act contrary to the congressionally specified policy until Congress changes it. 28. 343 U.S. 579, 586 (1952). As Justice Jackson famously put it in his concurrence, “[w]hen the President takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress, his power is at its lowest ebb,” and such measures are permissible only if the Constitution grants the President “a power at once so conclusive and preclusive” that it disables Congress from acting upon the subject. Id. at 637–38 (Jackson, J., concurring). 29. Id. at 604 (Frankfurter, J., concurring). 30. THE FEDERALIST NO. 47, at 303 (James Madison) (Clinton Rossiter ed., 1961). 31. U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 1; Prakash & Ramsey, supra note 7, at 234. 32. Prakash & Ramsey, supra note 7, at 345 (“The traditional executive power over foreign affairs did not include a general power of legislation in support of foreign affairs objectives.”). 2017] The U.S. Supreme Court articulated this principle most prominently in Steel Seizure. In that case, President Truman did not violate any statutory proscription when he ordered the seizure of the steel mills to avoid a threatened work stoppage in the midst of the Korean War; indeed, three Justices believed he acted constitutionally to meet a national emergency before Congress was able to act.33 The President even invited Congress to disapprove the seizure after the fact, and it did not do so.34 But Congress had, before the seizure, legislated policies to address labor disputes that might lead to work stoppages in critical industries and to address the circumstances under which government seizure of private property was appropriate. The problem with the President’s action was not that he violated any express statutory provision but that he acted in an area in which Congress had made “a conscious choice of policy” and imposed his own, alternative policy solution.35 When Congress has prescribed a particular approach to subject matter within its legislative authority, the President cannot follow an alternative approach without flouting congressional will and offending the separation of powers. A. The Steel Seizure Case Before directing the Secretary of Commerce to seize and to operate the steel mills during the Korean conflict, President Truman had unsuccessfully attempted to resolve the dispute between the steel companies and their employees over new collective bargaining agreements by referring the matter to the Federal Wage Stabilization Board.36 On April 4, 1952, the steelworkers union announced that a nationwide strike would begin at 12:01 a.m. on April 9, 1952.37 Because steel was an essential component of virtually all war materials and the country was then engaged in the Korean War, the President concluded that “a work stoppage would immediately jeopardize and imperil our national defense” and that governmental operation of the steel mills was necessary “to assure the continued availability of steel 33. Steel Seizure, 343 U.S. at 680 (Vinson, C.J., dissenting) (“[I]f the President has any power under the Constitution to meet a critical situation in the absence of express statutory authorization, there is no basis whatever for criticizing the exercise of such power in this case.”); id. at 703 (“In his Message to Congress immediately following the seizure, the President explained the necessity of his action in executing the military procurement and antiinflation legislative programs and expressed his desire to cooperate with any legislative proposals approving, regulating or rejecting the seizure of the steel mills. Consequently, there is no evidence whatever of any Presidential purpose to defy Congress or act in any way inconsistent with the legislative will.”). 34. Id. at 677 (“[T]he President sent a letter to the President of the Senate in which he again described the purpose and need for his action and again stated his position that ‘The Congress can, if it wishes, reject the course of action I have followed in this matter.’ Congress has not so acted to this date.” (footnote omitted)). As Steel Seizure holds, and as we argue below in the Iran sanctions context, the failure of Congress to disapprove executive action in disregard of an extant legislated framework does not provide ex post justification for the action. See id. at 587–89 (majority opinion); infra Part III.B. 35. Steel Seizure, 343 U.S. at 602 (Frankfurter, J., concurring). 36. Id. at 582–83 (majority opinion). 37. Id. at 583. and steel products during the existing emergency.”38 He ordered the seizure a few hours before the strike was to begin.39 The steel companies complied under protest but challenged the seizure on the ground that it “was not authorized by an act of Congress or by any constitutional provisions.”40 The Supreme Court agreed with the companies that “[t]he President’s power, if any, to issue the order must stem either from an act of Congress or from the Constitution itself.”41 The Court found no statute that authorized the seizure expressly or by fair implication.42 Rather, Congress had established a framework for resolving work stoppages that excluded the governmental seizure of industrial facilities.43 When, in 1947, it considered the Labor Management Disputes Act (colloquially referred to as the TaftHartley Act), Congress rejected an amendment that would have authorized governmental seizures in cases of national emergency so as not to undermine the process of collective bargaining.44 Thus, “the plan Congress adopted in that Act did not provide for seizure” but instead “sought to bring about settlements by use of the customary devices of mediation, conciliation, investigation by boards of inquiry, and public reports.”45 The 1947 law left unions “free to strike after a secret vote by employees as to whether they wished to accept their employers’ final settlement offer.”46 President Truman understood that his order of seizure was not authorized by the Taft-Hartley Act and instead sought to justify his action on the basis of his commander-in-chief power and inherent executive authority.47 The Court held that the President lacked authority to disregard the policy framework Congress had established for dealing with strikes even in cases of 38. Id. at 589–91 (appendix to the majority opinion). The appendix reproduces Executive Order 10,340, 17 Fed. Reg. 3139 (Apr. 8, 1952). 39. Steel Seizure, 343 U.S. at 583 (majority opinion). 40. Id. 41. Id. at 585. 42. Id. 43. Id. at 586. 44. Id. 45. Id. As Justice Frankfurter noted: Congress in 1947 was again called upon to consider whether governmental seizure should be used to avoid serious industrial shutdowns. Congress decided against conferring such power generally and in advance, without special Congressional enactment to meet each particular need. Under the urgency of telephone and coal strikes in the winter of 1946, Congress addressed itself to the problems raised by ‘national emergency’ strikes and lockouts. The termination of wartime seizure powers on December 31, 1946, brought these matters to the attention of Congress with vivid impact. A proposal that the President be given powers to seize plants to avert a shutdown where the ‘health or safety’ of the Nation was endangered, was thoroughly canvassed by Congress and rejected. No room for doubt remains that the proponents as well as the opponents of the bill which became the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 clearly understood that as a result of that legislation the only recourse for preventing a shutdown in any basic industry, after failure of mediation, was Congress. Authorization for seizure as an available remedy for potential dangers was unequivocally put aside. Id. at 598–600 (Frankfurter, J., concurring) (footnotes omitted). 46. Id. at 586 (majority opinion). 47. Id. at 579. 2017] national emergency.48 To alter the framework Congress established for resolving national emergency labor disputes would require the exercise of legislative power.49 The President lacked authority to seize the steel mills even during wartime because the President is not a lawmaker. “The Constitution limits his functions in the lawmaking process to the recommending of laws he thinks wise and the vetoing of laws he thinks bad.”50 It entrusts “the lawmaking power to the Congress alone in both good and bad times.”51 The President’s seizure of the mills—in the face of the congressionally established framework for resolving labor disputes— violated this separation of powers. The constitutional flaw was that “[t]he President’s order does not direct that a congressional policy be executed in a manner prescribed by Congress—it directs that a presidential policy be executed in a manner prescribed by the President.”52 Importantly, it was not that Congress had expressly prohibited the President from seizing industrial property to avert a crisis. Rather, Congress had by legislation set in place a particular policy—that labor disputes would be resolved by collective bargaining and without government seizure of plants—and the President sought to establish a different approach to labor disputes in its place.53 As Justice Felix Frankfurter emphasized, Congress had even addressed the issue of governmental seizure and authorized seizures under other circumstances.54 Where “Congress did specifically address itself to a problem, as Congress did to that of seizure,” Justice Frankfurter wrote, the President cannot implement a different solution without violating “the constitutional division of authority between President and Congress.”55 For Frankfurter and other Justices in the majority, it might have been a different case if Congress had not already acted in this area.56 Yet when 48. Id. at 587–89. 49. Id. at 588–89. 50. Id. at 587; see also Michael Stokes Paulsen, Youngstown Goes to War, 19 CONST. COMMENT. 215, 216 (2002) (“Youngstown holds that the President, as chief executive, may not ‘execute’ laws of his own making . . . . He may not enact domestic legislation unilaterally, by executive decree, but may only carry into effect enactments of the legislature or execute his own constitutional powers—which pointedly do not include any general legislative powers. And this remains true even in the case of war or national emergency.”). 51. Steel Seizure, 343 U.S. at 589 (majority opinion). 52. Id. at 588. 53. See id. at 657 (Burton, J., concurring) (“Collective bargaining, rather than governmental seizure, was to be relied upon. Seizure was not to be resorted to without specific congressional authority.”). 54. Id. at 597–98 (Frankfurter, J., concurring) (“Congress has frequently—at least 16 times since 1916—specifically provided for executive seizure of production, transportation, communications, or storage facilities.”); see also id. at 615–19 (summarizing legislation authorizing seizures). 55. Id. at 609. 56. Id. at 597 (“We must therefore put to one side consideration of what powers the President would have had if there had been no legislation whatever bearing on the authority asserted by the seizure, or if the seizure had been only for a short, explicitly temporary period, to be terminated automatically unless Congressional approval were given.”); id. at 659 (Burton, J., concurring) (“The foregoing circumstances distinguish this emergency from one in which Congress takes no action and outlines no governmental policy. In the case before us, Congress authorized a procedure which the President declined to follow.”); id. at 662 (Clark, Congress has “made a conscious choice of policy,”57 presidential departure from that policy “invade[s] the jurisdiction of Congress.”58 Such a change of policy “is an exercise of legislative power” and therefore such presidential action cannot be sustained “without reading Article II as giving the President not only the power to execute the laws but to make some.”59 Certainly, wrote Frankfurter, no one would contend that the President “would have had power to issue this order had Congress explicitly negated such authority in formal legislation.”60 By establishing a policy framework that prescribes an alternative course, “Congress has expressed its will to withhold this power from the President as though it had said so in so many words.”61 Justice Robert Jackson underscored the point in his influential concurrence. “Congress has not left seizure of private property an open field but has covered it by three statutory policies inconsistent with this seizure,” he wrote.62 “In choosing a different and inconsistent way of his own, the President cannot claim that it is necessitated or invited by failure of Congress to legislate upon the occasions, grounds and methods for seizure of industrial properties.”63 That meant that the decision to seize the mills did not fall into the “zone of twilight” in which the President and Congress enjoy concurrent powers and in which congressional neglect of pressing issues might “enable, if not invite, measures on independent presidential responsibility.”64 Because the President was acting in the face of Congress’s alternative solution to the same problem—that is, taking “measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress”—his power was “at its lowest ebb, for then he can rely only upon his own constitutional powers.”65 But the President had no power to alter the existing legislative framework. “The Executive, except for recommendation and veto, has no legislative power,” J., concurring) (“[I]n the absence of such action by Congress, the President’s independent power to act depends upon the gravity of the situation confronting the nation.”). 57. Id. at 602 (Frankfurter, J., concurring). 58. Id. at 660 (Burton, J., concurring) (“The controlling fact here is that Congress, within its constitutionally delegated power, has prescribed for the President specific procedures, exclusive of seizure, for his use in meeting the present type of emergency. Congress has reserved to itself the right to determine where and when to authorize the seizure of property in meeting such an emergency.”); id. at 662 (Clark, J., concurring) (concluding that “where Congress has laid down specific procedures to deal with the type of crisis confronting the President, he must follow those procedures in meeting the crisis” and that in this case “Congress had prescribed methods to be followed by the President in meeting the emergency at hand”); id. at 602 (Frankfurter, J., concurring) (“[N]othing can be plainer than that Congress made a conscious choice of policy in a field full of perplexity and peculiarly within legislative responsibility for choice.”). 59. Id. at 630, 633 (Douglas, J., concurring). The President lacks the power to make laws. Id. at 632 (“The power to recommend legislation, granted to the President, serves only to emphasize that it is his function to recommend and that it is the function of the Congress to legislate.”). 60. Id. at 602 (Frankfurter, J., concurring). 61. Id. 62. Id. at 639 (Jackson, J., concurring). 63. Id. 64. Id. at 637. 65. Id. 2017] Justice Jackson concluded.66 The attempt to address the risk of a work stoppage though a policy of governmental seizure “originates in the individual will of the President and represents an exercise of authority without law.”67 B. The Steel Seizure Principle in Foreign Affairs A possible objection to the application of the Steel Seizure principle to international agreements is to emphasize the domestic aspects of the labor dispute and plant seizure in Steel Seizure and to suggest that the President enjoys more expansive power in the foreign affairs context68—perhaps even extending to a kind of legislative power.69 The President has considerable authority to command the armed forces, to make treaties, and to speak for the nation in dealings with foreign states, but the Court has never recognized a legislative authority in the President to alter congressional policy even in the realm of foreign affairs.70 Steel Seizure itself involved an assertion of the President’s foreign affairs powers as executive and Commander in Chief during wartime.71 As Justice Jackson put it, “it is said he has invested himself with ‘war powers.’”72 The Court rejected the notion that the President’s power over foreign affairs allowed him to exercise legislative authority: “He has no monopoly of ‘war powers,’ whatever they are,” wrote Jackson, noting that even in military affairs “heed has been taken of any efforts of Congress to negative his authority.”73 Steel Seizure also provided the occasion to clarify the scope of presidential authority as enunciated in United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp.,74 in which the Court suggested that the President possessed broad inherent power over foreign affairs.75 Justice Jackson observed that Curtiss-Wright fell into his first class of cases, in which the President acted pursuant to congressional authorization: the case “involved, not the question of the President’s power to act without congressional authority, but the question of his right to act under and in accord with an Act of Congress.”76 The actual holding of the case was that, in the area of foreign affairs, Congress could delegate authority to the President in broader terms than perhaps would be permissible in domestic affairs.77 Jackson recognized that “[i]t was intimated that the President might act in external affairs without congressional authority, but not that he might act contrary to an Act of Congress.”78 Nothing even in Curtiss-Wright’s dicta about the President’s inherent authority, nor anything in the Steel Seizure opinions, suggests that the President’s obligation to adhere to the legislative framework for dealing with a particular subject has limited application in the foreign affairs arena.79 The Steel Seizure principle remains a vital part of the Supreme Court’s separation of powers jurisprudence in cases involving the foreign relations power of the United States. The Court relied on the principle when it invalidated the President’s use of military commissions in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.80 In that case, the Court held that, “[w]hether or not the President has independent power, absent congressional authorization, to convene military commissions, he may not disregard limitations that Congress has, in proper exercise of its own war powers, placed on his powers.”81 Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for himself and for Justices David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Stephen Breyer, wrote that “the three-part scheme used by Justice Jackson” in his Steel Seizure concurrence was “[t]he proper framework for assessing whether executive actions are authorized.”82 For 2017] those Justices, it mattered that “the President has acted in a field with a history of congressional participation and regulation.”83 Because the Court concluded that the President’s system of military commissions was inconsistent with the military justice system Congress had created, the President’s power was “at its lowest ebb” because he had taken “measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress.”84 The Court’s most recent reaffirmation of the Steel Seizure principle was in Medellin v. Texas.85 In that case, the Court concluded that a judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was not a binding rule of domestic law because the treaties pursuant to which the United States participates in the ICJ are not self-executing and therefore require implementing legislation to have domestic effect.86 President George W. Bush had issued a memorandum to the Attorney General stating that the United States would comply with its obligations under the ICJ judgment by having state courts give effect to the decision.87 The government argued that the President’s memorandum made the ICJ judgment binding law pursuant to the President’s power “to establish binding rules of decision that preempt contrary state law.”88 The Court rejected that argument because converting an international obligation arising from a non-self-executing treaty into a binding rule of domestic law would require an exercise of legislative power, which the President lacks.89 According to Medellin, the Senate’s decision to ratify a non-self-executing treaty could not be taken to authorize the President to make the treaty’s obligations binding on courts as domestic law. Rather, such congressional action “implicitly prohibits him from doing so” because “the implicit understanding of the ratifying Senate” was that the treaty would be non-selfexecuting; the President’s assertion of authority to enforce the treaty as binding domestic law conflicted with that implicit congressional understanding.90 That conflict between the implicit understanding of Congress and the President’s attempt to alter that understanding placed the 83. Id.; see also id. at 639 (“Congress has set forth governing principles for military courts.”). 84. Id. at 638. 85. 552 U.S. 491 (2008). 86. Id. at 528–30. 87. Id. at 498. 88. Id. at 523 (quoting Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae Supporting Petitioner at 5, Medellin, 552 U.S. 491 (No. 06-984)). 89. Id. at 525–26 (“The President has an array of political and diplomatic means available to enforce international obligations, but unilaterally converting a non-self-executing treaty into a self-executing one is not among them. The responsibility for transforming an international obligation arising from a non-self-executing treaty into domestic law falls to Congress.”); id. at 526 (“Once a treaty is ratified without provisions clearly according it domestic effect . . . whether the treaty will ever have such effect is governed by the fundamental constitutional principle that ‘[t]he power to make the necessary laws is in Congress; the power to execute in the President.’” (quoting Hamdan, 548 U.S. at 591)); id. (“[T]he terms of a non-self-executing treaty can become domestic law only in the same way as any other law—through passage of legislation by both Houses of Congress, combined with either the President’s signature or a congressional override of a Presidential veto.”). 90. Id. at 527. President’s action “within Justice Jackson’s third category,” where presidential power is at its lowest.91 As in Steel Seizure, the President had not violated any express statutory proscription. But where Congress had acted by ratifying a non-self-executing treaty without providing implementing legislation, the President could not adopt an alternative approach for giving domestic effect to the ICJ judgment without congressional authorization.92 The Steel Seizure principle that the President may not take actions incompatible with congressional policy was so ingrained in American jurisprudence that “[f]or our first 225 years, no President prevailed when contradicting a statute in the field of foreign affairs.”93 That streak was broken in 2015 with Zivotofsky v. Kerry,94 in which the Court upheld the President’s refusal to allow American citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel listed as their birthplace on their passports—in the face of a congressional statute requiring exactly that.95 Zivotofsky nevertheless coheres with the Steel Seizure principle.96 In line with the Jackson concurrence, the Court accepted that “when ‘the President takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress . . . he can rely only upon his own constitutional powers minus any constitutional powers of Congress over the matter’” and “[t]o succeed in this third category, the President’s asserted power must be both ‘exclusive’ and ‘conclusive’ on the issue.”97 In the Court’s view, however, the Zivotofsky case involved the President’s power to recognize foreign states, which the Court placed in Justice Jackson’s category of powers “at once so conclusive and preclusive” as to “disabl[e] the Congress from acting upon the subject.”98 The Zivotofsky Court’s conclusion that the President possesses an exclusive recognition power is debatable.99 But acknowledging such an exclusive executive power does not undermine the foundational Steel Seizure principle that the President cannot exercise legislative power and therefore cannot act contrary to “the expressed or implied will of Congress,”100 unless 2017] he is acting in an area of exclusive executive authority.101 No one, including President Obama, has suggested that the subject matter of the JCPOA—the imposition of sanctions on Iran—is an area of exclusive executive authority.102 The President did not claim that Congress is “disabl[ed] . . . from acting upon the subject”103 and that the sanctions statutes are unconstitutional but rather that he acted consistent with the expressed or implied will of Congress embodied in those statutes. II. THE PRACTICE OF SOLE EXECUTIVE AGREEMENTS The history of the President’s use of sole executive agreements is consistent with the Steel Seizure understanding that the President must respect congressional policy even in the foreign relations arena. There is no basis for arguing that a history of congressional acquiescence has added a “historical gloss” to the foundational constitutional principle that the executive is not a lawmaker even when dealing with foreign relations.104 In the founding period, it was not clear that the lead role in making treaties was an executive function because the binding character of such agreements “partake[s] more of the legislative than of the executive character.”105 According to an early perspective, the President made treaties only as an agent of the Senate.106 So when the President made agreements on his own authority, those agreements were not understood to have the legislative weight of a treaty or statute or to involve the exercise of a lawmaking power.107 That understanding of the limited, nonlegislative effect of sole executive agreements has not been disturbed in subsequent practice, with one possible exception: the President’s practice of utilizing executive agreements to settle claims of Americans against foreign governments. Historically, settlement of such claims could be regarded as an executive function because foreign states enjoyed absolute immunity from suit, so the only way such claims could be vindicated was for the President to pursue the claim diplomatically.108 Yet even after Congress abrogated foreign sovereign immunity in 1976, thus permitting Americans to pursue most claims against foreign states in American courts,109 the Supreme Court continued to recognize claims settlement as an executive function that did not require ex ante congressional authorization.110 This view, whatever its merits, does not contradict the applicability of the Steel Seizure principle even in the foreign relations area. A. Claims Settlement The prime example of the President’s ostensible power to effect legislative change through sole executive action that has been cited by scholars,111 and arguably even by the Supreme Court,112 is the President’s “authority to resolve claims disputes with foreign nations.”113 It is certainly true that “[m]aking executive agreements to settle claims of American nationals against foreign governments is a particularly longstanding practice.”114 But the argument that this practice represents a presidential exercise of lawmaking power ignores the origin of the practice. As mentioned, until 1976, foreign states enjoyed absolute immunity from suit, and therefore the only way an American could vindicate a claim against a foreign state was for the President to espouse his claim and resolve it diplomatically. In doing so, the President was not displacing legislative action or otherwise making law; he was occupying a diplomatic area that legislation then could not reach. The Supreme Court put the point clearly in the nineteenth century: One nation treats with the citizens of another only through their government. A sovereign cannot be sued in his own courts without his consent. His own dignity, as well as the dignity of the nation he represents, prevents his appearance to answer a suit against him in the courts of another sovereignty, except in performance of his obligations, by treaty or otherwise, voluntarily assumed. Hence, a citizen of one nation wronged by the conduct of another nation, must seek redress through his own government. His sovereign must assume the responsibility of presenting his claim, or it need not be considered. If this responsibility is assumed, the claim may be prosecuted as one nation proceeds against another, not by suit in the courts, as of right, but by diplomacy, or, if need be, by war.115 2017] the National Emergencies Act,201 provide substantial authority to impose sanctions to address international threats,202 and Presidents have exercised these authorities to sanction Iran.203 But Congress did not leave Iran sanctions policy entirely to presidential discretion. It prescribed not only that the President “may” apply certain sanctions policies but also that the President “shall” impose a range of sanctions on specified entities.204 In doing so, “Congress made a conscious choice of policy”205 for addressing the Iranian nuclear program via economic sanctions. As one federal appeals court has concluded, “Far from sitting by as successive Presidents maintained a sweeping sanctions regime, Congress has expanded, deepened and formalized the sanctions in a comprehensive legislative effort to target Iran through economic measures.”206 This is, in short, not an area of congressional inaction or acquiescence but one in which Congress prescribed a comprehensive legislative solution. The President’s reliance on a sole executive agreement essentially to reject Congress’s solution—indeed, to decline to enforce applicable law—renders the President’s exercise of authority pursuant to the JCPOA a violation of the Steel Seizure principle. A. The Legislative Sanctions Regime Sanctions have been part of American policy toward Iran since the Iranian Revolution of 1979.207 In the 1980s and 1990s, sanctions policy largely focused on limiting Iranian strategic influence in the Middle East and its support for terrorism.208 Since the mid-2000s, sanctions policy has been aimed at thwarting the further development of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and the American effort has become the focal point of international cooperation toward that goal.209 Beginning in 2006, the United States deployed sanctions to limit the ability of Iran to transact with non-U.S. counterparties through the international financial system.210 This strategy involved the imposition of secondary sanctions, which prohibited U.S. entities from transacting with non-U.S. entities that engaged in certain transactions with Iran.211 The goal was to pressure Iran by denying it access to international markets.212 When he signed the JCPOA, President Obama committed to suspend, if not effectively to terminate, this nuclear-related sanctions regime,213 so it is worth outlining the relevant congressional legislation establishing the regime. 1. Iran Sanctions Act In 1996, Congress adopted the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA or ILSA)214 to deny Iran financial resources by targeting its energy sector. The Act was an attempt to apply secondary sanctions against Iran by authorizing U.S. penalties against third-country firms.215 In particular, section 5(a) of the Act, which was codified as a statutory note to 50 U.S.C. § 1701, provides that “the President shall impose” five or more specified financial penalties216 on any entity that makes an investment of $20 million or more which “directly and significantly contributes to the enhancement of Iran’s ability to develop petroleum resources.”217 With the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, 2017] Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA),218 Congress amended section 5(a) to impose the same requirement with respect to any entity that (1) provides Iran with “goods, services, technology, information, or support that could directly and significantly facilitate the maintenance or expansion of Iran’s domestic production of refined petroleum products”219 or (2) provides Iran with refined petroleum products or support that could enhance Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum products.220 Congress expanded the scope of sanctions under section 5(a) yet again with the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (TRA),221 which extended the required sanctions to any entity that (1) participates in a joint venture with Iran with respect to the development of petroleum resources outside Iran,222 (2) supports Iran’s ability to develop domestic petroleum resources or domestic production of refined petroleum products,223 (3) supports Iran’s domestic production of petrochemical products,224 (4) transports crude oil from Iran,225 or (5) conceals the Iranian origin of crude oil or refined petroleum products transported on a vessel in which the entity has an interest.226 In addition to specifying the required sanctions and the entities to which those sanctions must be applied, Congress also identified in the Iran Sanctions Act the circumstances under which the President would no longer be obliged to impose sanctions. Congress provided that “[t]he requirement under section 5(a) to impose sanctions shall no longer have force or effect with respect to Iran if the President determines and certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that Iran” (1) has ceased its efforts to develop or to acquire nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as well as ballistic missiles, (2) has been removed from the list of countries that support international terrorism, and (3) “poses no significant threat to United States national security, interests, or allies.”227 If the President cannot make such certifications, the Act allows more limited case-by-case waivers of the mandatory sanctions where the President certifies that national security interests require a waiver. Section 9(c) of the Iran Sanctions Act provides that “[t]he President may waive, on a case-bycase basis and for a period of not more than one year, the requirement in section 5(a) to impose a sanction or sanctions” if “the President determines and so reports to the appropriate congressional committees that it is essential to the national security interests of the United States to exercise such waiver 218. Pub. L. No. 111-195, § 102, 124 Stat. 1312, 1317 (2010) (codified as amended at 22 U.S.C. §§ 8501–8551 ( 2012 )). 219. 50 U.S.C. § 1701 note sec. 5(a)(2)(B) (Supp. V 2006). 220. Id. § 1701 note sec. 5(a)(3). 221. Pub. L. No. 112-158, 126 Stat. 1214 ( 2012 ) (codified as amended at 50 U.S.C. § 1701 note secs. 5–6 (Supp. II 2015) (Iran Sanctions)). 222. 50 U.S.C. § 1701 note sec. 5(a)(4) (Supp. II 2015) (Iran Sanctions). 223. Id. § 1701 note sec. 5(a)(5). 224. Id. § 1701 note sec. 5(a)( 6 ). 225. Id. § 1701 note sec. 5(a)(7). 226. Id. § 1701 note sec. 5(a)(8). 227. 50 U.S.C. § 1701 note sec. 8 ( 2012 ) (Iran Sanctions). authority.”228 The required report under this section requires the President to provide “a specific and detailed rationale” for each entity so exempted from the penalties under section 5(a).229 The President must supply “a description of the conduct that resulted in the determination” that sanctions apply to that entity in the first place.230 The President must provide, “in the case of a foreign person, an explanation of the efforts to secure the cooperation of the government with primary jurisdiction over the sanctioned person to terminate or, as appropriate, penalize the activities that resulted in the determination.”231 He must further provide “an estimate of the significance of the conduct of the person in contributing to the ability of Iran to” obtain weapons or petroleum products232 as well as “a statement as to the response of the United States in the event that the person concerned engages in other activities that would be subject to” sanctions.233 If the President is not pursuing a particular entity while acting in concert with its host country—but wants instead to avoid diplomatic fallout from sanctioning a foreign national under section 5(a)—the Act provides a more general but also more time-limited waiver authority for foreign nationals. Section 4(c) provides: The President may, on a case by case basis, waive for a period of not more than six months the application of section 5(a) with respect to a national of a country, if the President certifies to the appropriate congressional committees at least 30 days before such waiver is to take effect that such waiver is vital to the national security interests of the United States.234 The President may renew such a waiver “for subsequent periods of not more than six months each.”235 The waiver authority provided by section 4(c) is carefully delimited. Waivers must be on a “case by case basis,” are limited to six-month periods, and are authorized only when “vital” to national security interests.236 These requirements did not appear in the original legislation.237 Rather, Congress specifically added such language to section 4(c) as well as other waiver provisions to clarify its intention that waiver authority “shall be case by case and shall not be used as a general waiver.”238 Congress amended section 4(c) to add the “case by case” proviso, the time limitation, and the “vital” standard when it adopted the Iran Freedom Support Act of 2006 (IFSA).239 The tightening of waiver authority responded to the use of that authority by the Clinton administration to exempt companies in the European Union from sanctions related to Iran’s energy sector.240 Members of Congress insisted that the statute authorized waivers only with respect to individual entities and that “there was no provision in ILSA for extending the waiver to the entire continent nor was there ever intended to be.”241 Accordingly, Congress clarified that waivers could be granted only on an individualized and timelimited basis.242 Congress also created a heightened standard for invoking a national security justification for waiver.243 The “vital” standard represented a higher threshold than the “important to the security interests of the United States” standard, which Congress had used elsewhere,244 or the lack of a standard appearing in the original section 4(c).245 Despite Congress’s intent in section 4(c) to authorize waivers only on an individualized, time-limited, and extraordinary basis, the Obama administration invoked section 4(c) to cease enforcing sanctions under section 5(a) of the Iran Sanctions Act against all non-U.S. nationals for the fifteen-year life of the JCPOA.246 2. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 In Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, Congress expanded its use of financial sanctions to target the Iranian Central Bank and Iranian oil exports.247 Congress designated “[t]he financial sector of Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran,” as “a primary money laundering concern.”248 Congress mandated in the 2012 National Defense Authorization law that “[t]he President shall . . . block and prohibit all transactions in all property and interests in property of an Iranian financial institution” if such property is subject to U.S. jurisdiction.249 Congress further required that the President “shall prohibit the opening, and prohibit or impose strict conditions on the maintaining, in the United States of a correspondent account . . . by a foreign financial institution that the President determines has knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant financial transaction with the Central Bank of Iran.”250 Again, Congress specified the circumstances under which these sanctions would no longer be required. Congress provided that the sanctions “shall terminate” thirty days after the President certifies to Congress that “the Government of Iran has ceased providing support for acts of international terrorism and no longer satisfies the requirements for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism” and that “Iran has ceased the pursuit, acquisition, and development of, and verifiably dismantled its, nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and ballistic missiles and ballistic missile launch technology.”251 If the conditions for this sunset provision are not met, the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act provides for limited waivers. To reward international cooperation with the sanctions regime, the sanctions “shall not apply” to a financial transaction involving a foreign financial institution if its host country “has significantly reduced its volume of crude oil purchases from Iran.”252 If neither the sunset provision nor this exception apply, and the President still believes that the strict application of sanctions would jeopardize national security interests, he may waive the imposition of sanctions pursuant to section 1245(d)(5) “for a period of not more than 120 days, and may renew that waiver for additional periods of not more than 120 days, if the President” determines that a waiver “is in the national security interest of the United States” and submits a report to Congress that 247. Pub. L. No. 112-81, § 1245, 125 Stat. 1298, 1647–50 (2011) (codified as amended at 22 U.S.C. § 8513a (Supp. IV 2017)). 248. 22 U.S.C. § 8513a(b) ( 2012 ). 249. Id. § 8513a(c). Congress said the President shall do so pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which generally empowers the President to impose economic sanctions at his discretion. 50 U.S.C. §§ 1701–1707 ( 2012 ). Congress made this sanction mandatory. 22 U.S.C. § 8513a(c). 250. 22 U.S.C. § 8513a(d)(1)(A). 251. Id. § 8513a(i) (providing that “[t]he provisions of this section shall terminate on the date that is 30 days after the date on which the President submits to Congress the certification described in section 8551(a) of this title”); see also id. § 8551(a) (describing the required certification). 252. Id. § 8513a(d)(4)(D). 2017] (1) provides “a justification for the waiver,” (2) certifies “that the country with primary jurisdiction over the foreign financial institution otherwise subject to the sanctions faced exceptional circumstances that prevented the country from being able to reduce significantly its purchases of petroleum and petroleum products from Iran,” and (3) specifies “any concrete cooperation the President has received or expects to receive as a result of the waiver.”253 Again, Congress made the waiver provision more restrictive over time. The original section 1245(d)(5) contained no requirement that the President certify “exceptional circumstances” on the part of the host country.254 Congress amended section 1245(d)(5) to add this requirement when it passed the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA) as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.255 The amendment “insert[ed] an additional determination the President is required to make when issuing a waiver of sanctions with respect to petroleum transactions.”256 Under the provision, the President is “required, prior to issuing a waiver of sanctions, to certify that the country with primary jurisdiction over the foreign financial institution otherwise subject to the sanctions faced exceptional circumstances that prevented the country from being able to significantly reduce its volume of crude oil purchases.”257 The provision demonstrates Congress’s intent to authorize a presidential waiver only with respect to an individual “foreign financial institution.”258 The requirement that the President make specific findings about the institution’s host country is incompatible with a blanket waiver that extends to entities in multiple countries. Nevertheless, the Obama administration invoked section 1245(d)(5) to waive the imposition of sanctions under section 1245 with respect to all foreign financial institutions.259 3. Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 In addition to the amendments to the Iran Sanctions Act discussed above,260 the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (TRA) includes freestanding provisions that impose additional sanctions.261 Section 212 of the Act provides that “the President shall impose [five] or more” of the financial sanctions outlined in the Iran Sanctions Act on any entity that “provides underwriting services or insurance or reinsurance for the National Iranian Oil Company, the National Iranian Tanker Company, or a 253. Id. § 8513a(d)(5). 254. Pub. L. No. 112-81, § 1245(d)(5), 125 Stat. 1298, 1649 (2011). 255. Pub. L. No. 112-239, sec. 1250, § 1245(d)(5)(B), 126 Stat. 1632, 2016–17 (2013) (codified at 22 U.S.C. § 8513(a) ( 2012 )); see infra note 266. 256. H.R. REP. NO. 112-705, at 907 ( 2012 ). 257. Id. 258. See id. 259. The waiver excludes transactions involving persons on the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals List. Kerry, supra note 13, at 4; see also infra notes 299–300. 260. See supra notes 221–26 and accompanying text. 261. 22 U.S.C. §§ 8722–8723 ( 2012 ). successor entity to either such company.”262 Section 213 provides that “[t]he President shall impose [five] or more of the sanctions” on any entity that “purchases, subscribes to, or facilitates the issuance” of “sovereign debt of the Government of Iran”—or “debt of any entity owned or controlled by Iran”—including bonds.263 For these sanctions, the Iran Threat Reduction Act adopts by reference the same sunset and waiver provisions as the Iran Sanctions Act.264 The Obama administration invoked the waiver provisions to cease the imposition of sanctions under sections 212 and 213 to all nonU.S. nationals.265 4. Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 Four sections of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA)266 further expand the nuclear-related sanctions regime applicable to Iran. Section 1244 designates as “entities of proliferation concern” all “[e]ntities that operate ports in Iran and entities in the energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors of Iran, including the National Iranian Oil Company, the National Iranian Tanker Company, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, and their affiliates” because of Congress’s determination that those institutions “play an important role in Iran’s nuclear proliferation efforts.”267 Accordingly, section 1244(c)(1) mandates that “the President shall block and prohibit all transactions in all property and interests in property” of any entity that is part of the Iranian energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors; that operates a port in Iran; or that provides support to any such entity.268 Section 1244(d) requires the President to apply at least five of the sanctions specified in the Iran Sanctions Act to any entity that engages in trade related to the Iranian energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors269 and to restrict the maintenance in the United States of a correspondent account for any financial institution that facilities such trade.270 Congress indicated in section 1244(h)(2) that these sanctions “shall apply to a foreign financial institution that conducts or facilitates a financial transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of natural gas” except under specified circumstances.271 The President may waive the imposition of sanctions under section 1244 “for a period of not more than 180 days, and may renew 262. Id. § 8722(a). For those financial sanctions, see supra note 216. 263. 22 U.S.C. § 8723(a). 264. Id. § 8722(d) (providing that those “provisions of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, as amended by this Act, apply with respect to the imposition of sanctions under subsection (a) to the same extent that such provisions apply with respect to the imposition of sanctions under section 5(a) of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996”); id. § 8723(b) (same); see supra notes 227– 35 and accompanying text. 265. Kerry, supra note 13, at 4. 266. The IFCA was adopted as Title XII, Subtitle D, of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, Pub. L. No. 112-239, §§ 1244–1247 ( 2012 ) (codified as amended at 22 U.S.C. §§ 8803–8806 ( 2012 ). 267. 22 U.S.C § 8803(b). 268. Id. § 8803(c)(1); see also id. § 8803(c)(2) (defining covered entities). 269. Id. § 8803(d)(1). 270. Id. § 8803(d)(2). 271. Id. § 8803(h)(2). 2017] that waiver for additional periods of not more than 180 days,” if the President “determines that such a waiver is vital to the national security of the United States” and “submits to the appropriate congressional committees a report providing a justification for the waiver.”272 Section 1245 requires the President to apply at least five of the sanctions described in the Iran Sanctions Act to any entity that engages in trade with Iran involving precious metals and other specified materials.273 The section also directs the President to restrict the maintenance of a correspondent account for any foreign financial institution that facilities such trade.274 Congress was apparently concerned that Iran was using such materials to alleviate the impact of economic sanctions. It required the President to publish a periodic report on whether Iran was using the specified materials “as a medium for barter, swap, or any other exchange or transaction” or was listing such materials “as assets of the Government of Iran for purposes of the national balance sheet of Iran.”275 Congress also directed the President to report on which sectors of the Iranian economy are controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and which of the specified materials are used in connection with Iran’s nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs.276 The President may waive the imposition of sanctions under section 1245 “for a period of not more than 180 days, and may renew that waiver for additional periods of not more than 180 days,” if the President “determines that such a waiver is vital to the national security of the United States” and “submits to the appropriate congressional committees a report providing a justification for the waiver.”277 Section 1246 mandates the application of five sanctions specified in the Iran Sanctions Act to entities that provide underwriting or insurance services for any sanctioned activity or entity—including activities in the energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors and trade in specified materials.278 The President may waive the imposition of sanctions under section 1246 “for a period of not more than 180 days, and may renew that waiver for additional periods of not more than 180 days,” if the President “determines that such a waiver is vital to the national security of the United States” and “submits to the appropriate congressional committees a report providing a justification for the waiver.”279 272. Id. § 8803(i)(1). 273. Id. § 8804(a)(1); see also id. § 8804(d) (“Materials described in this subsection are graphite, raw or semi-finished metals such as aluminum and steel, coal, and software for integrating industrial processes.”). 274. Id. § 8804(c). 275. Id. § 8804(e) (“Not later than 180 days after January 2, 2013, and every 180 days thereafter, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees and publish in the Federal Register a report that contains the determination of the President with respect to [these issues].”). 276. Id. 277. Id. § 8804(g)(1). 278. Id. § 8805(a)(1). 279. Id. § 8805(e)(1). Section 1247 requires the President to prohibit any correspondent account by a foreign financial institution that has “knowingly facilitated a significant financial transaction on behalf of any Iranian person included on the list of specially designated nationals and blocked persons maintained by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury.”280 The President may waive the imposition of sanctions under section 1247 “for a period of not more than 180 days, and may renew that waiver for additional periods of not more than 180 days,” if the President “determines that such a waiver is vital to the national security of the United States” and “submits to the appropriate congressional committees a report providing a justification for the waiver.”281 The use of the “vital” standard in the waiver provisions of the IFCA contrasts with more lax standards used in other portions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, which allow executive officials to waive other requirements upon a determination that “it is in the national security interest of the United States to do so.”282 These provisions, which the Obama administration invoked to waive the corresponding sanctions provisions of the IFCA,283 entail a high burden of justification. B. Bypassing the Legislative Framework Over a long period, Congress entrenched, expanded, and fine-tuned the sanctions regime targeted at Iran’s nuclear program. All the sanctions provisions discussed in the preceding Part remain binding law.284 Yet when President Obama signed the JCPOA, the President agreed that “[t]he United States commits to cease the application of . . . all nuclear-related sanctions” as specified in annex II of the agreement, which identifies the statutory provisions designed to deny Iran access to the international financial system and to prevent the development of its energy and shipping sectors.285 To follow through on the commitment made in the JCPOA, the President purported to exercise the waiver provision applicable to each sanction in order to cease enforcing the nuclear-related sanctions altogether. Secretary 2017] Kerry wrote to Congress on behalf of the President to invoke the eight different waiver provisions.286 Pursuant to section 4(c) of the Iran Sanctions Act, for example, Secretary Kerry purported to “find that it is vital to the national security interests of the United States to issue waivers regarding the application of sanctions” under section 5(a) “for transactions by non-U.S. nationals in cases where the transactions are for activities described in [specified provisions] of Annex II of the JCPOA.”287 The specified provisions of Annex II, in turn, describe all the activities that are sanctionable under section 5(a) of the Iran Sanctions Act.288 Each description of an activity is listed alongside the provision of U.S. law that sanctions that activity, indicating that the intent is to end enforcement of the applicable legal provision.289 In other words, President Obama invoked the various waiver provisions— some of which explicitly must be applied “on a case by case basis”290 and all of which are time-limited291—effectively to repeal seventeen different sanctions laws for the fifteen-year life of the JCPOA and presumably thereafter.292 It would be difficult to argue that such an action is compatible “with the expressed or implied will of Congress” so as to be consistent with the Steel Seizure principle.293 First, Congress mandated sanctions that had previously been subject to the President’s discretionary authority under IEEPA.294 Second, Congress limited the President’s ability to waive sanctions to individual cases, to individual sanctions provisions, and to limited periods of time.295 Third, Congress provided sunset provisions that specified the conditions under which the President could cease applying sanctions altogether—conditions that were not met prior to the JCPOA.296 Even if there might be some room to debate the scope of a permissible waiver, the presence of these sunset provisions indicates that the scope must be something short of wholesale suspension, which the President purported to accomplish in agreeing to the JCPOA. 286. Kerry, supra note 13. 287. Id. at 4–5. 288. See Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, supra note 1, annex II, at 9–10 (committing to end “[s]anctions on the provision of underwriting services, insurance, or reinsurance in connection with activities consistent with this JCPOA”; “[e]fforts to reduce Iran’s crude oil sales, including limitations on the quantities of Iranian crude oil sold and the nations that can purchase Iranian crude oil”; “[s]anctions on investment, including participation in joint ventures, goods, services, information, technology and technical expertise and support for Iran’s oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors”; “[s]anctions on the export, sale or provision of refined petroleum products and petrochemical products to Iran”; and “[s]anctions on associated services for each of the categories”). 289. See id. 290. See supra note 234 and accompanying text. 291. See supra notes 234–35, 253–55, 264, 272, 277, 279, 281 and accompanying text. 292. Kerry, supra note 13. 293. Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (Steel Seizure), 343 U.S. 579, 637 (1952) (Jackson, J., concurring). 294. See supra Part III.A; see also supra notes 205–06 and accompanying text. 295. See supra Part III.A. 296. See supra notes 227, 251, 264 and accompanying text. Defenders of the President’s strategy suggest that if Congress did not want the President to be able effectively to repeal the sanctions legislation it passed, Congress should not have provided waiver authority to the President.297 But this position implies that Congress’s only option was to mandate an inflexible sanctions regime that made no allowance for national security exceptions. Short of a flat-out bar on executive discretion, it is unclear what else Congress could have done to implement a policy of imposing sanctions but allowing waivers in particularized circumstances. Congress cannot feasibly or constitutionally retain a veto over the President’s waiver decisions.298 The most it can responsibly do is what it did in the Iran sanctions legislation it enacted: require the President to provide a detailed justification for each waiver so he is required to focus on individual circumstances case by case and limit the length of the waiver period so that the President must periodically return to Congress to justify his decision. With his blanket waivers of sanctions, President Obama does not appear to have complied even with these modest requirements. In waiving sanctions under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, for example, the President did not submit a report to Congress “certifying that the country with primary jurisdiction over the foreign financial institution otherwise subject to the sanctions faced exceptional circumstances that prevented the country from being able to reduce significantly its purchases of petroleum and petroleum products from Iran”299 and “that includes any concrete cooperation the President has received or expects to receive as a result of the waiver.”300 The President did not and could not provide such individualized reports for all the financial institutions that would be subject to sanctions in the absence of his waiver because it is not possible to identify them all. That is the point. Requiring individualized reports makes clear that Congress has authorized only individualized waivers—that is, waivers “on a case by case basis”301— which is apparent from reading the provisions reasonably in context. If the JCPOA experience leads to Congress writing stricter statutes with less flexibility, it would not be because Congress erred in giving the President too much waiver authority but because the President failed to respect the limited character of the waiver provisions Congress enacted in the first place. This is not a question of the President merely failing to dot i’s or cross t’s. The Steel Seizure principle requires the President to respect “the plan Congress adopted”302 or, in other words, “the expressed or implied will of 297. See, e.g., Jack Goldsmith, More Weak Arguments for the Illegality of the Iran Deal, LAWFARE (July 27, 2015, 2:46 PM), https://www.lawfareblog.com/more-weak-argumentsillegality-iran-deal [https://perma.cc/DTH5-VCCC] (“The Deal may well show that Congress has delegated or acquiesced in the expansion of too much presidential power. Perhaps Congress will draw lessons from and act on that realization—but I doubt it.”). 298. INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 959 (1983) (holding legislative vetoes to be unconstitutional). 299. 22 U.S.C. § 8513a(d)(5)(B)(ii) ( 2012 ); see also id. § 8513a(d)(4)(D); supra note 255 and accompanying text. 300. 22 U.S.C. § 8513a(d)(5)(B)(iii); see supra note 253 and accompanying text. 301. See supra note 234 and accompanying text. 302. Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (Steel Seizure), 343 U.S. 579, 586 (1952). 2017] Congress.”303 It resembles a preemption analysis. If Congress has legislated a framework to govern a particular area, erecting an alternative framework requires new legislation and cannot be accomplished by executive action alone.304 The President might have discretion to act where the field is open,305 but where Congress has acted, it has, in effect, occupied the field— and the President is correspondingly constrained. The President’s unilateral commitments in the JCPOA disregarded the congressional policy framework in violation of the separation of powers. Congress adopted a plan for the imposition of sanctions and for impeding the Iranian nuclear program—just as Congress, in Steel Seizure, had adopted policies for the seizure of property as a means of dealing with labor disputes. The President, in both cases, sought to address the same issues by acting contrary to the congressional plan.306 The JCPOA might have represented a different circumstance if Congress had not entered the field—if Congress, for example, had never adopted mandatory sanctions on Iran but left the matter to executive discretion. But Congress did legislate in that area, and its plan remains law until it is changed by statute or by treaty. C. The Foreign Subsidiary Loophole It turns out that Congress did not authorize even case-by-case waivers for every aspect of the sanctions regime. White House lawyers apparently wondered whether the JCPOA could be implemented without legislative changes because of the so-called “‘foreign sub’ loophole.”307 Prior to 2012, foreign subsidiaries of American companies were not prohibited from transacting business with Iran.308 Congress closed this “loophole” when it adopted the TRA, which in section 218 made American parent companies liable for the conduct of foreign subsidiaries.309 In the JCPOA, the President agreed effectively to restore the foreign subsidiary loophole by committing to “[l]icense non-U.S. entities that are owned or controlled by a U.S. person to engage in activities with Iran that are consistent with this JCPOA.”310 Section 218 of the TRA lacks a waiver provision altogether. It terminates only upon the President’s certification that “the Government of Iran has ceased providing support for acts of international terrorism and no longer satisfies the requirements for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism” and that “Iran has ceased the pursuit, acquisition, and development of, and verifiably dismantled its, nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and ballistic missiles and ballistic missile launch technology.”311 President Obama did not make this certification. The White House reportedly settled on an alternative legal theory that purportedly allows the reopening of the loophole without turning to Congress. The TRA provides that “[t]he President may exercise all authorities provided under sections 203 and 205 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to carry out” provisions of the TRA.312 Because the IEEPA authorizes the President to license foreign subsidiaries to trade with Iran, the argument goes, the reference to the IEEPA means that the TRA allows him to exercise that authority.313 The Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department therefore authorized foreign entities owned or controlled by U.S. persons to transact business with Iran.314 The White House’s argument, at least as reported in the press, is not compelling. The TRA authorizes the use of the President’s IEEPA authorities “to carry out” the TRA, including section 218.315 It is strange to read that phrase as meaning “to cancel out” the specific requirements of section 218. The President’s annulment of section 218 is a small part of the overall JCPOA framework. But the lack of a justification for the nonenforcement of that provision further demonstrates that President Obama’s commitments in the JCPOA clash with the congressional framework and require legislation to be properly implemented. D. The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act During negotiations but before the conclusion of the JCPOA, Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (“Review Act”).316 The Review Act required the President to transmit the agreement, once reached, to Congress for review.317 Congress then had a sixty-day review period during which it could adopt a joint resolution of approval or 2017] disapproval or take no action.318 The President was prohibited from waiving or otherwise limiting the application of statutory sanctions during the sixtyday review period.319 As it happened, a majority in the House voted to disapprove the JCPOA; in the Senate, Democrats prevented a resolution of disapproval from reaching a vote.320 The Senate’s avoidance of a vote spared the President from having to veto a congressional disapproval.321 Commentators have suggested that the Review Act amounts to congressional authorization of the JCPOA.322 According to this view, the Review Act “explicitly grants the Administration authority to negotiate and implement binding legal commitments with Iran.”323 Yet the Review Act does not provide such authorization. The statutory text reads as if Congress thought it was being unfairly sidelined from Iran policy and desperately wanted to reclaim some role in the process.324 “[E]ven though the agreement may commence,” it reads, “because the sanctions regime was imposed by Congress and only Congress can permanently modify or eliminate that regime, it is critically important that Congress have the opportunity, in an orderly and deliberative manner, to consider and, as appropriate, take action affecting the statutory sanctions regime imposed by Congress.”325 While the Review Act acknowledges that the President intended to continue negotiations and to conclude an agreement, it does not authorize those actions. What the Act accomplished was to require the President to submit the details of any agreement to Congress and to prohibit the President from implementing the agreement for sixty days so that Congress has an opportunity to express an opinion.326 The Review Act represented an attempt to reclaim a congressional role, not to authorize unilateral executive action. The congressional role could be reclaimed only partially because the President had reversed the usual lawmaking dynamic. He was effectively exercising lawmaking authority through the JCPOA by requiring Congress to muster the majority support needed to pass a law rather than following the normal requirement for the 318. Id. § 2160e(b)(2). 319. Id. § 2160e(b)(3). 320. See Kelly, Senate Vote, supra note 8; Kelly, House Vote, supra note 8. 321. Kelly, Senate Vote, supra note 8 (“The votes spare President Obama from having to veto a disapproval resolution since it will not come to his desk.”). 322. See Bruce Ackerman & David Golove, Can the Next President Repudiate Obama’s Iran Agreement?, ATLANTIC (Sept. 10, 2015), https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ archive/2015/09/can-the-next-president-repudiate-obamas-iran-agreement/404587/ [https://perma.cc/594X-P34K] (arguing that the JCPOA has its “foundation in statutes authorizing the president to commit the nation”). 323. Id. 324. That is what many members of Congress were thinking when voting for the Review Act. See Jordain Carney, Senate Overwhelmingly Approves Iran Review Bill in 98-1 Vote, HILL (May 7, 2015 2:24 PM), http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/241355-senatevotes-to-approve-Iran-review-bill [https://perma.cc/V55J-JDJV] (quoting Senator Rubio as saying, “at least it creates a process whereby the American people through their representatives can debate an issue of extraordinary importance” and “I hope this bill passes here today so at least we’ll have a chance to weigh in”). 325. 42 U.S.C. § 2160e(c)(1)(E) (Supp. IV 2017)). 326. See supra notes 317–19 and accompanying text. President to demonstrate the overriding political support needed to overturn a law. When in the past Congress has authorized the President to enter into executive agreements, it has required congressional approval before those agreements go into effect.327 The lack of such a provision in the Review Act was not an expression of enthusiasm for the President’s Iran policy but a recognition that the President was determined to conclude the deal without Congress.328 IV. IMPLICATIONS FOR THE SEPARATION OF POWERS There are two steps to the President’s claim of authority with respect to the JCPOA. The first is his constitutional authority to enter into political agreements with foreign states. The second is his authority under the sanctions statutes, with the various waiver provisions, to lift nuclear-related Iran sanctions across the board. Commentary on the President’s legal strategy has suggested that these two steps are independent and were satisfied in this case—that the President had the authority to conclude a “nonbinding” political agreement and separate authority to lift sanctions.329 But if the President had not agreed to the JCPOA, could he still have ended enforcement of the nuclear-related statutory sanctions against Iran? That is, if there were no agreement with Iran but the President still believed that continued enforcement of the sanctions regime was not the correct policy, could the President plausibly have invoked the various waiver provisions to end sanctions in the across-the-board manner evidenced in the JCPOA and thus, in effect, launch his own nonsanctions Iran policy? The case for the legality of the President’s action depends on the answer to this question being yes. If it were otherwise, it would mean that a sole executive agreement—explicitly treated by the Obama administration as a nonbinding political commitment—altered domestic law. Yet it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that if the President could not invoke compliance with the JCPOA as a pressing national security interest, he could not have managed as easily to cease enforcing the congressional sanctions regime. The problem, however, is that the JCPOA is in fact the President’s own nonsanctions Iran policy. It was not approved by Congress 327. See Julian Ku, Why Professors Ackerman and Golove Are Still Wrong About the Iran Deal, OPINIO JURIS (Sept. 16, 2015, 8:09 PM), http://opiniojuris.org/2015/09/16/whyprofessors-ackerman-and-golove-are-still-wrong-about-the-iran-deal/ [https://perma.cc/J8H5-5KUJ] (citing the example of the Trade Promotion Authority Act, which authorizes the President to enter into trade agreements but provides that no agreement shall enter into force unless an “implementing bill is enacted into law”). 328. Congress could not have enacted legislation preventing the JCPOA from going into effect without congressional approval because the President would have vetoed such legislation. Carney, supra note 324 (noting that the threat of presidential veto prevented amendments and stronger provisions in the Review Act). 329. Goldsmith, supra note 24, at 466–67 (“[T]he President . . . made political commitments that did not require legislative approval and then exercised independent domestic authorities to effectuate the changes in domestic law that were needed to make the pledges in the . . . commitments credible and efficacious.”). 2017] or by the public, and it was opposed by majorities of both.330 To allow the President’s own Iran policy to trump Congress’s Iran policy is to invest the President with a freestanding legislative authority that has no constitutional foundation or legal precedent. In effect, it is to allow the President to reverse the usual lawmaking dynamic required by the Constitution. In Steel Seizure, President Truman sought to implement his own policy on plant seizure as a means of quelling a labor dispute thought to pose a national emergency during the Korean War.331 In the case of the JCPOA, President Obama initiated his own new no-sanctions policy toward Iran, compliance with which he claimed was so “vital to the national security of the United States” that it justified nonenforcement of binding domestic law. Even in such circumstances, the Steel Seizure principle requires the President to act within the congressional plan, respecting both substantive provisions of law and the legislated policy framework. If the President finds that plan too confining, it is his burden to convince Congress to change the law, not Congress’s burden to muster supermajorities to overturn a threatened veto, as occurred in connection with the Iran Review Act.332 Recent scholarship has focused on the increasing salience of waiver provisions in congressional statutes.333 In a leading analysis, Judge David Barron and Professor Todd Rakoff coined the term “big waiver” to describe the “delegation of the power to unmake major statutory provisions.”334 Such delegation of waiver authority has important benefits. In particular, “Congress takes ownership of the first draft of a regulatory framework, confident that its handiwork will not prove to be rigid and irreversible,” and therefore Congress achieves “regulatory flexibility that enables it to codify fundamental policy choices that it otherwise might be unwilling (or unable) to specify, thereby making legislative policymaking viable.”335 In the national security context, such flexibility is especially useful. Congress may specify a baseline sanctions policy, for example, without worrying that the 330. Bradford Richardson, Poll: Americans Oppose Iran Nuclear Deal 2-1, HILL (Feb. 17, 2016, 8:55 AM), http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/269667-americansoppose-iran-nuclear-deal-2-1-poll [https://perma.cc/Q6NU-AHMY]; Kelly, Senate Vote, supra note 8; Kelly, House Vote, supra note 8. 331. See supra notes 38–39 and accompanying text. 332. See supra notes 320–21, 327–28 and accompanying text. 333. See, e.g., Barron & Rakoff, supra note 22, at 267 (identifying a “form of delegation of broad policymaking power that is becoming increasingly important” that “gives agencies the broad, discretionary power to determine whether the rule or rules that Congress has established should be dispensed with”); Price, supra note 22, at 257 (“[S]tatutory provisions expressly authorizing executive cancelation of key features of substantive statutes also appear to have grown in salience.”); see also Daniel T. Deacon, Administrative Forbearance, 125 YALE L.J. 1548, 1551 (2016) (discussing “[d]elegations to agencies of the power to deprive statutory provisions of legal force and effect”); R. Craig Kitchen, Negative Lawmaking Delegations: Constitutional Structure and Delegations to the Executive of Discretionary Authority to Amend, Waive, and Cancel Statutory Text, 40 HASTINGS CONST. L.Q. 525, 527 (2013) (“[M]any types of lawmaking delegations in the administrative state allow the Executive to change the text of duly enacted statutes.”). 334. Barron & Rakoff, supra note 22, at 265. 335. Id. at 270. requirement to sanction particular entities might undermine the President’s ability to address some future—and unforeseeable—diplomatic crisis. For this reason, the national security context has occasioned numerous statutes providing for “little waiver,”336 the delegation of “a limited power to handle the exceptional case.”337 But what happens when the executive attempts to transform its little-waiver authority into big waiver? It might do so either through a broad reading of a narrow waiver provision or the simultaneous exercise of a series of little waivers negating the limitations of each. Both of these strategies were necessary to the President’s actions to meet his commitments under the JCPOA. The President interpreted provisions allowing waivers on a case-by-case basis to authorize across-theboard waivers of certain sanctions. And the President combined the authority provided by each waiver provision to grant Iran simultaneous, sweeping sanctions relief. The JCPOA is not a unique instance of this phenomenon. In defending the grant of work authorization under the Obama administration’s program for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), for example, the government focused on a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act defining “unauthorized alien” to mean, “with respect to the employment of an alien at a particular time,” that the alien is not “authorized to be so employed by this chapter or by the Attorney General.”338 According to the government, this provision authorized the Attorney General to dispense with the elaborate requirements for work authorization that the Act lays out.339 The state challengers to DAPA, meanwhile, argued that the provision could not be understood to authorize so sweeping a waiver as to “grant the Executive power to undo Congress’s comprehensive 1986 IRCA reforms with the stroke of a pen.”340 The states essentially offered a Steel Seizure argument: that the waiver provision cannot be read to overturn the congressionally specified framework. Any conception of “big waiver” must respect limitations inherent in the Steel Seizure principle. Exercises of waiver authority must be consistent with the congressional plan: “Big waiver should . . . have to be justified as being within the statutory enactment, as carrying forward one or more of what can 336. Id. at 287 (“[T]he national security realm has occasioned the delegation of the little waiver power in a number of regulatory domains.”). 337. Id. at 277. 338. 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(h)(3) ( 2012 ). 339. Brief for the Petitioners at 63, United States v. Texas, 136 S. Ct. 2271 (2016) (No. 15674) (arguing that § 1324a(h)(3) “ratifies and independently supports the Secretary’s . . . position that he can ‘authorize[]’ aliens to be lawfully employed as a component of the exercise of his discretion”). 340. Brief for the State Respondents at 53, Texas, 136 S. Ct. 2271 (No. 15-674); see also Texas v. United States, 809 F.3d 134, 182–83 (5th Cir. 2015) (“For the authority to implement DAPA, the government relies in part on 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(h)(3), a provision that does not mention lawful presence or deferred action, and that is listed as a ‘[m]iscellaneous’ definitional provision expressly limited to § 1324a, a section concerning the ‘Unlawful employment of aliens’—an exceedingly unlikely place to find authorization for DAPA.” (footnote omitted) (quoting 8 U.S.C. § 1324a(h)(3)). 2017] be reasonably thought to be the purposes of the statute.”341 After all, “[i]n allowing waivers, Congress . . . did not intend to authorize outright cancelation of statutory provisions based on mere executive disagreement with statutory requirements.”342 The outer limit of the President’s waiver authority, even if authorized, must be that he cannot disregard the legislated policy framework in favor of his own independent agenda.343 In addition, any waiver authority must be conferred “using relatively clear language.”344 That is, waiver authority “may not be lightly implied, at least where forbearance would result in a ‘fundamental revision’ of the regulatory scheme enacted by Congress.”345 While scholars have suggested these interpretive principles in the administrative law context, the use of executive waiver authority pursuant to the JCPOA was not subjected to such scrutiny. In the JCPOA context, the President’s exercise of waiver authority was based on a strained and expansive reading of the statutory text, and it aimed at a purpose contrary to the statute—namely, to abandon sanctions as the policy framework for dealing with Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology. Yet the academic response was, essentially, that Congress had gotten what it asked for. “If Congress doesn’t like the position it is in now,” one well-regarded commentator wrote at the time of the JCPOA, “it should be more careful when it gives the President discretion to implement (and waive) its sanctions.”346 The truth is that Congress was careful. When it added the “case-by-case” language, the six-month time limitation, and the “vital to the national security interests of the United States” reporting requirement to the waiver provision in the Iran Sanctions Act, Congress received criticism for unreasonably confining the 341. Barron & Rakoff, supra note 22, at 332; see also Deacon, supra note 333, at 1607 (“[W]hen reviewing agency forbearance decisions, courts should presume that Congress intends the agency to consider the underlying purposes of the statute when deciding whether to forbear. . . . Such a presumption would require agencies to articulate more clearly how their decisions advance the goals of the statute as a whole.”). 342. Price, supra note 22, at 265–66. 343. Deacon, supra note 333, at 1607 (“[Such a presumption] would minimize the dangers associated with a runaway Executive negating the will of Congress.”). 344. Id. at 1606. 345. Id. (quoting MCI Telecomms. Corp. v. AT&T Co., 512 U.S. 218, 231 (1994)); see also Barron & Rakoff, supra note 22, at 323 (advocating a “clear statement rule” for waiver authority in some circumstances); Zachary S. Price, Enforcement Discretion and Executive Duty, 67 VAND. L. REV. 671, 764 (2014) (“[T]o comply with the presumption against suspending and dispensing authority, . . . executive waivers must have clear statutory authorization.”). 346. Jack Goldsmith, Why Congress Is Effectively Powerless to Stop the Iran Deal (and Why the Answer Is Not the Iran Review Act), LAWFARE (July 20, 2015, 8:23 AM), https://www.lawfareblog.com/why-congress-effectively-powerless-stop-iran-deal-and-whyanswer-not-iran-review-act [https://perma.cc/X9BA-CP8A]. Professor Goldsmith later made a similar argument with respect to President Obama’s possible pursuit of a United Nations Security Council resolution banning nuclear testing, suggesting that Congress perhaps should not have authorized the President to direct American votes in the Security Council. Jack Goldsmith, Quick Reactions to Obama’s UN Gambit on Nuclear Testing, LAWFARE (Aug. 5, 2016, 7:02 AM), https://www.lawfareblog.com/quick-reactions-obamas-un-gambit-nucleartesting [https://perma.cc/9LQM-SEZV]. President’s waiver discretion.347 Yet Congress nevertheless acted to narrow that discretion.348 The argument that Congress has itself to blame for the JCPOA amounts to the contention that the President cannot be trusted to remain within the bounds of a narrow waiver provision and therefore Congress ought never to authorize waivers, at least in the realm of foreign affairs. This is a recipe for irresponsible congressional action that would harm relations with foreign states. To avoid perilous interbranch competition in which Congress tests the limits of directing the President’s activities in foreign affairs through inflexible mandates, it makes sense to embrace limits on delegated waiver authority with respect to foreign affairs such as have been suggested in the administrative law context.349 Controversies over the President’s foreign affairs authority are less likely than administrative law matters to end up in court, at least when individual rights are not at stake.350 But that means the views of the legal culture with respect to presidential waivers are more important in this context.351 The President was able to exercise expansive 347. See, e.g., 152 CONG. REC. H1770 (daily ed. Apr. 26, 2006) (statement of National Foreign Trade Council et al.) (“If the President chose to waive the sanctions, which is possible under an inadequately narrow provision in this bill, he would be required to renew that waiver every six months. This policy of requiring investigations and sanctions determinations on each and every past and future investment in Iran by a person described in the Act would severely restrict the Administration’s flexibility to conduct foreign policy in ways that can adapt to complex, changing circumstances.”). 348. See id. at H1772 (statement of Rep. Cardin) (“I am pleased that the legislation today establishes mandatory sanctions for contributions to development of weapons, limits the President’s flexibility to waive sanctions, authorizes funding to promote democracy activities in Iran, and supports efforts to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Finally, this bill eliminates the sunset of sanctions against Iran, and requires them to remain in place until the President certifies that Iran has dismantled its WMD programs.”); see also supra notes 239–45 and accompanying text. 349. See supra notes 341–45 and accompanying text. 350. For controversies between Congress and the President, legislators may have standing to challenge executive action where such action effectively nullifies their votes, see Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811, 823 (1997), and houses of Congress might have standing where its institutional powers are at stake, see House of Representatives v. Burwell, 130 F. Supp. 3d 53, 74 (D.D.C. 2015) (“The House of Representatives as an institution would suffer a concrete, particularized injury if the Executive were able to draw funds from the Treasury without a valid appropriation.”). But legislators do not have standing to police executive enforcement of the law. See Daughtrey v. Carter, 584 F.2d 1050, 1057 (D.C. Cir. 1978) (“Once a bill becomes law, a Congressman’s interest in its enforcement is shared by, and indistinguishable from, that of any other member of the public.”); see also Russell v. DeJongh, 491 F.3d 130, 134 (3d Cir. 2007) (“[T]he authorities appear to hold uniformly that an official’s mere disobedience or flawed execution of a law for which a legislator voted . . . is not an injury in fact for standing purposes.”). Nevertheless, one might imagine the merits of the waivers pursuant to the JCPOA being litigated if, for example, the federal government sued a state arguing that federal sanctions policy should preempt the state’s sanctions against Iran. See Eugene Kontorovich, Standing to Challenge the Iran Deal—Congress and the States, WASH. POST (Sept. 10, 2015), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/ 09/10/standing-to-challenge-the-iran-deal-congress-and-the-states/ [https://perma.cc/BVG4Y6U7]. 351. Cf. Jack N. Balkin, The Framework Model and Constitutional Interpretation, in PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 241, 249 (David Dyzenhaus & Malcolm Thorburn eds., 2016) (noting the constraining effect of “what legal professionals thought were reasonable and unreasonable claims about the meaning of the Constitution”); 2017] waiver authority in the Iran nuclear agreement because informed commentators largely accepted his claim that Congress had already delegated authority to the President to suspend the sanctions regime. The legal culture ought to be skeptical of claims that Congress has authorized the executive branch to suspend a legal regime and replace it with another of the executive’s own making. Such claims require the President to demonstrate textual warrant and consistency with congressional purpose. Respect for the separation of powers, embodied in the Steel Seizure principle, requires no less. Recent scholarship on “historical gloss” and congressional acquiescence to executive action testing the boundaries of separated powers rightly emphasizes the practical difficulties Congress faces when trying to act as a unitary body to resist perceived executive overreach.352 These logistical barriers are part of the constitutional design. The President has the advantage of initiative, both in the foreign relations and domestic spheres. It is difficult for Congress to pass laws, amend or repeal them, or take other action as a body to express opposition to executive action. Even when a course of action enjoys majority support in both houses, that may still not be enough congressional consensus to override an express or impliedly threatened veto; this was the dynamic behind the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. The Steel Seizure principle plays an important role in setting the appropriate ground rules for such contests over the separation of powers. When the executive acts in an area where Congress has been silent or where Congress has authorized the executive action, the burden is on the legislative branch, with all the practical and logistical hurdles the Constitution and institutional history have erected, to enact law circumscribing the President’s sphere of action. Yet when Congress has established a policy framework for dealing with the matter, and the President cannot claim an exclusive sphere of action,353 the burden is on the President to work within that framework, even when addressing relations with foreign states. “In the framework of our Constitution, the President’s power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker.”354 CONCLUSION The President can be viewed both as an agent and, particularly in the foreign relations area, as a co-principal with Congress. The Steel Seizure principle highlights the limits of the co-principal conception of the President. Once Congress has developed a legislative framework for a subject matter within its authority, that framework occupies the field; the President’s role becomes one of a responsible agent. In the Iran sanctions laws, Congress Richard H. Fallon, Jr., Constitutional Constraints, 97 CALIF. L. REV. 975, 1024 (2009) (discussing normative constraints on executive officials). 352. See, e.g., Bradley & Morrison, supra note 104, at 441–44; Roisman, supra note 104, at 681–82. 353. See, e.g., Zivotofsky ex rel. Zivotofsky v. Kerry, 135 S. Ct. 2076, 2087 ( 2015 ). 354. Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (Steel Seizure), 343 U.S. 579, 587 (1952). provided bounded waiver authority, acting responsibly to allow limited executive discretion rather than requiring the President to seek new legislation each time flexibility was needed. It did not, however, invite the President effectively to override the sanctions framework altogether, as occurred in connection with the JCPOA. In general, Congress’s delegation of waiver authority to the executive branch may provide needed flexibility. Yet the President’s exercise of waiver authority must be carefully circumscribed to avoid the problem of the President revising a statutory regime out of disagreement with Congress’s policy choices. Limiting principles are no less necessary in the foreign affairs context, where the President has used purported waiver authority in the Iran sanctions statutes to pursue his own independent policy in defiance of Congress. A. Claims Settlement ................................................................... 1216 B. Dames & Moore and Garamendi............................................ 1221  1 . Dames & Moore............................................................... 1222  2 . Garamendi ....................................................................... 1224 C. Other Practices....................................................................... 1226 A. The Legislative Sanctions Regime .......................................... 1229  1 . Iran Sanctions Act............................................................ 1230  2 . National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012................................................................................. 1234  3 . Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012................................................................................. 1235  4 . Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 ...... 1236 B. Bypassing the Legislative Framework.................................... 1238 C. The Foreign Subsidiary Loophole .......................................... 1241 D. The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act ............................... 1242 IV. IMPLICATIONS FOR THE SEPARATION OF POWERS .. ......................... 1244 10 . Duncan B. Hollis & Joshua J. Newcomer , “Political” Commitments and the Constitution , 49 VA. J. INT'L L . 507 , 517 ( 2009 ) ; see also Anthony Aust, The Theory and Practice of Informal International Instruments , 35 INT' L & COMP. L .Q. 787 , 797 , 807 ( 1986 ); Oscar Schachter , The Twilight Existence of Nonbinding International Agreements , 71 AM. J. INT'L L . 296 , 302 - 04 ( 1977 ). 11 . See David E. Sanger, Obama Sees an Iran Deal That Could Avoid Congress , N.Y. TIMES (Oct. 20 , 2014 ), https://www.nytimes.com/ 2014 /10/20/us/politics/obama -sees-an-iran- deal-that-could-avoid-congress- .html [https://perma.cc/9YUL-NP9Y] (“The Treasury officials say.”) . 12 . See infra Part III.A. 13 . See Letter from John F. Kerry , U.S. Sec'y of State, to U.S. Congress (Oct. 18 , 2015 ), http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/248501.pdf [https://perma.cc/KM6Z-6UAM] (invoking four waiver provisions of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 Authorization Act of 2012 to cease the imposition of sanctions under that law, two waiver provisions of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 to lift two sanctions provisions of that law, and the waiver provision of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 to waive the sanctions provision of that law) . 14. Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, supra note 1, at 6. 15. Id. at 13 . 16. For a discussion whether the JCPOA is indeed nonbinding, see Michael D . Ramsey, Evading the Treaty Power?: The Constitutionality of Nonbinding Agreements, 11 FIU L . REV. 371 , 377 - 81 ( 2016 ). 66 . Id. at 655 . 67. Id . 68 . See , e.g., United States v. Curtiss-Wright Exp . Corp., 299 U.S. 304 , 319 - 20 ( 1936 ) Constitution ”). But see infra notes 74-78 and accompanying text (discussing the Court's subsequent treatment of this language) . 69 . See HENKIN , supra note 24, at 228 (“ If one accepts Presidential primacy in foreign too. ” (footnotes omitted)) . 70 . See Zivotofsky ex rel . Zivotofsky v. Kerry , 135 S. Ct . 2076 , 2113 ( 2015 ) (Roberts, infra notes 93-98 and accompanying text. 71 . President Truman had determined that “a work stoppage would immediately aggression.” Steel Seizure , 343 U.S. at 590-91 (appendix to the majority opinion) . 72 . Id. at 642 ( Jackson , J ., concurring) . 73 . Id. at 644-45; see also id. at 645 n.14. 74 . 299 U.S. 304 ( 1936 ). 75 . See id. at 319- 21 . But see Michael D. Ramsey , The Myth of Extraconstitutional Foreign Affairs Power , 42 WM. & MARY L. REV . 379 , 379 - 83 ( 2000 ). 76 . Steel Seizure, 343 U.S. at 635 n. 2 ( Jackson , J ., concurring) . 77 . Id. at 635 n. 2 ( “ [Curtiss-Wright] recognized internal and external affairs as being in external affairs .”); see also Curtiss-Wright, 299 U.S. at 327-28 ( upholding a joint resolution 320 (“[C] ongressional legislation which is to be made effective through negotiation and Nondelegation and the Unitary Executive , 12 U. PA. J. CONST . L. 251 , 258 ( 2010 ) (“Congress Broad. Co. v. United States , 319 U.S. 190 , 215 ( 1943 ) ; then quoting Yakus v . United States, 321 U.S. 414 , 420 ( 1944 ))). 78 . Steel Seizure, 343 U.S. at 635 n. 2 ( Jackson , J ., concurring) . 79. See id. at 579 (majority opinion) . See generally Curtiss-Wright , 299 U.S. 304 . 80. 548 U.S. 557 ( 2006 ). See generally Samuel Estreicher & Diarmuid O'Scannlain , Hamdan's Limits and the Military Commissions Act, 23 CONST . COMMENT. 403 ( 2006 ). 81 . Hamdan , 548 U.S. at 593 n.23 (citing Steel Seizure , 343 U.S. at 637 ( Jackson , J. , concurring)) . 82 . Id. at 638 (Kennedy, J., concurring) . 91. Id. 92. Id. at 530 . 93. Zivotofsky ex rel . Zivotofsky v. Kerry , 135 S. Ct . 2076 , 2113 ( 2015 ) (Roberts, C .J., dissenting) . 94 . 135 S. Ct . 2076 ( 2015 ). 95 . Id. at 2096 (majority opinion). 96. The Court explicitly noted that “[i]n considering claims of Presidential power this Court refers to Justice Jackson's familiar tripartite framework” from Steel Seizure . Id. at 2083 . 97. Id. at 2084 (first alteration in original) (quoting Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co . v. Sawyer (Steel Seizure ), 343 U.S. 579 , 637 - 38 ( 1952 ) (Jackson , J ., concurring)) . 98 . Steel Seizure, 343 U.S. at 637- 38 ( Jackson , J ., concurring); see Zivotofsky , 135 S. Ct . at 2087 (“ The formal act of recognition is an executive power that Congress may not qualify.”). 99 . See Zivotofsky, 135 S. Ct . at 2116 (Scalia, J., dissenting) (“The Constitution exercise his powers on the basis of his views, Congress its powers on the basis of its views . ”) . 100 . Steel Seizure, 343 U.S. at 637 ( Jackson , J ., concurring) . 101 . For the same reason, Professor Henkin is mistaken to characterize presidential of legislative power . See HENKIN, supra note 24 , at 54 (“There may be domestic legal government.”). 102. See supra note 7 and accompanying text. 103. Steel Seizure , 343 U.S. at 637- 38 ( Jackson , J ., concurring) . 104 . See generally Curtis A. Bradley & Trevor W. Morrison , Historical Gloss and the Separation of Powers , 126 HARV. L. REV. 411 ( 2012 ); Shalev Roisman, Constitutional Acquiescence , 84 GEO. WASH. L. REV. 668 ( 2016 ). 105 . THE FEDERALIST NO. 75 , at 450 ( Alexander Hamilton) (Clinton Rossiter ed., 1961 ). 106. JAMES BURNHAM , CONGRESS AND THE AMERICAN TRADITION 202-04 ( 1959 ); HENKIN, supra note 24 , at 177; Ramsey, supra note 16, at 371 (“[D] uring most of the Convention, the entirely to the Senate .”). 107 . BURNHAM, supra note 106, at 202- 03 . 108 . See HENKIN , supra note 24, at 41-43 , 41 n.19; Clark , supra note 24, at 1626-27; Foreign States Against States , 104 COLUM. L. REV. 1765 , 1855 - 58 ( 2004 ). 109. See infra note 120 and accompanying text. 110. See infra Part II.B . 111 . See , e.g., HENKIN, supra note 24 , at 228 n.* (arguing that executive claims settlement agreements “made law”) . 112 . Medellin v. Texas , 552 U.S. 491 , 531 - 32 ( 2008 ) (noting that “the making of executive Moore v . Regan , 453 U.S. 654 , 686 ( 1981 ))). 113 . Id. at 530 . 114. Am . Ins. Ass'n v. Garamendi , 539 U.S. 396 , 415 ( 2003 ) ; see also SAMUEL B . CRANDALL , TREATIES: THEIR MAKING AND ENFORCEMENT 108-11 (2d ed. 1916 ). 115 . United States v. Diekelman , 92 U.S. 520 , 524 ( 1875 ) ; see also Steven Menashi , Article III as a Constitutional Compromise: Modern Textualism and State Sovereign Immunity, 84 NOTRE DAME L. REV . 1135 , 1158 ( 2009 ) (discussing the founding-era consensus that “immunity to suit is an inherent attribute of sovereignty” ). 201 . Pub . L. No. 94 - 412 , 90 Stat. 1255 ( 1976 ) (codified as amended at 50 U .S.C. §§ 1601 - 1651 ( 2012 )). 202 . See 50 U.S.C. § 1702(a)(1)(A) ( 2012 ) (providing that the President may “investigate, United States ”); id . § 1702 ( a)(1)(B) (providing that the President may “investigate, block jurisdiction of the United States”) . 203 . See , e.g., Exec . Order No. 13 , 606 , 77 Fed. Reg. 24 , 571 (Apr. 22, 2012 ); Exec. Order No. 13 , 382 , 70 Fed. Reg. 38 , 567 (June 28, 2005 ); Exec. Order No. 13 , 059 , 62 Fed. Reg. 44 , 531 (Aug. 19 , 1997 ). No one doubts that the President may revoke prior executive orders . See Exec . Order No. 13 , 716 , 81 Fed. Reg. 3693 ( Jan . 16, 2016 ) (revoking prior executive orders ). 204. See infra Part III.A. 205 . Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co . v. Sawyer (Steel Seizure) , 343 U.S. 579 , 602 ( 1952 ) (Frankfurter , J., concurring) . 206 . United States v. Amirnazmi , 645 F.3d 564 , 579 ( 3d Cir . 2011 ). The court was arrogate 'virtually unlimited power over foreign trade . '” Id. at 577 . 207. See KATZMAN , supra note 200, at 1. 208. Id. 209. Id. 210. Id. at 26-28. 211. Id. at 28-29. 212. Id. at 28. 213. See generally Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, supra note 1 . 214. Pub . L. No. 104 - 172 , 110 Stat. 1541 ( 1996 ) (codified as amended at 50 U .S.C. § 1701 note ( 2012 ) (Iran Sanctions)) . Originally named the “Iran and Libya Sanctions Act,” the law was retitled after it terminated with respect to Libya in 2006. Iran Freedom Support Act , Pub. L. No . 109 - 293 , § 205 (g), 120 Stat. 1344 , 1347 ( 2006 ) (codified as amended at 50 U .S.C. § 1701 note sec . 205 (g) ( 2012 ) (Iran Sanctions) ). 215 . See KATZMAN , supra note 200, at 10 . 216. 50 U.S.C. § 1701 note sec. 5(a)(1)(A) (Supp . II 2015 ) (Iran Sanctions) . Originally, the Act required three or more penalties , 50 U.S.C. § 1701 note sec. 5(a)(1)(A) ( 2012 ) (Iran Sanctions), but Congress later raised that number to five, 50 U .S.C. § 1701 note sec. 5(a)(1)(A) (Supp. II 2015 ) (Iran Sanctions) . As amended, the Act provides for penalties including a of any of these sanctions on the principal executive officers of a sanctioned person . Id. § 1701 note sec. 6(a) . 217. Id. § 1701 note sec. 5(a)(1) . 238. H.R. REP . NO. 111 - 512 , at 69 ( 2010 ). 239 . Pub . L. No. 109 - 293 , § 201 , 120 Stat. 1344 , 1345 ( 2006 ) (codified as amended at 50 U.S.C. § 1701 note sec . 4 ( c ) ( 2012 ) (Iran Sanctions)); see also H.R. REP . NO. 109 - 417 , at 20 ( 2006 ) (“Subsection (b) amends Section 4(c) of ILSA to provide that waivers of sanctions against nationals of countries (including entities) under Section 5(a) of ILSA may be made by at least 30 days before such waiver is to take effect that: (A) such waiver is vital to the national destruction by the Government of Iran.”) . 240. H.R. REP . NO. 109 - 417 , at 10 (“In 1998, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright European Union states on non-proliferation matters with respect to Iran .”). 241 . Enforcement of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act and Increasing Security Threats from Int'l Relations , 108th Cong . 4 ( 2003 ) (statement of Rep . Ileana Ros-Lehtinen , Chairwoman, in ILSA for extending the waiver to the entire continent, nor was there ever intended to be .”). 242 . 50 U.S.C. § 1701 note sec. 4(c)(1)(A) ( 2012 ) (Iran Sanctions) . 243 . See id. 244 . See , e.g., H.R. REP . NO. 109 - 417 , at 7 (using an “important to the national security interests of the United States” standard in the waiver context ). 245 . 50 U.S.C. § 1701 note sec. 4 ( c ) ( 2000 ) (Iran and Libya Sanctions); see also H.R. REP . NO. 111 - 512 , at 46 ( 2010 ) (“Among other provisions, the IFSA strengthened sanctions under the United States.'”) . 246 . Kerry, supra note 13, at 4-5; see infra notes 287-88 and accompanying text. 280 . Id . § 8806 ( a). The sanction does not apply to an Iranian financial institution that has Id. § 8806 (b). 281 . Id . § 8806 (f)( 1 ). 282. Compare National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 , Pub . L. No. 112 - 239, § 1228 (c)( 2 ), 126 Stat. 1632 , 2002 ( 2013 ), with id. § 913(c)(1) sec. 2277(c)(3)(B ), 126 Stat. at 1876 , and id . § 1028 ( d)(1)(D), 126 Stat . at 1916 , and id . § 1227 ( d)(2), 126 Stat . at 2001 . 283. See Kerry, supra note 13, at 1 . 284. See 22 U.S.C. §§ 8501 - 8551 ( 2012 ); 22 U.S.C. §§ 8701 - 8795 ( 2012 ); 22 U.S.C. §§ 8803 - 8806 ( 2012 ); 50 U.S.C. § 1701 note ( 2012 ); 50 U.S.C. §§ 1701 - 1707 ( 2012 ). 285 . Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, supra note 1 , annex II , at 8. The agreement notes under [the JCPOA] are those directed towards non-U.S. persons .” Id. at 8 n.6. U.S. persons to do so . Id. 303. Id. at 637 ( Jackson , J ., concurring) . 304 . Provided, of course, that Congress had the authority to legislate in the first place . 305. See supra note 56 and accompanying text. 306 . See supra Parts I.A , III .B. 307 . James Rosen , Exclusive: U.S. Officials Conclude Iran Deal Violates Federal Law, FOX NEWS (Oct. 9 , 2015 ), http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/10/08/exclusive-us- officials-conclude-iran-deal-violates-federal-law .html [https://perma.cc/AF56-8D8G]. 308. During the 2015 Republican primary, the foreign-sub loophole was featured in the Millions from Sales in Iran , BLOOMBERG (Sept. 14 , 2015 , 3 :45 PM), http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-09 -14/under-fiorina-hp-earned-millions-from- sales- in-iran [https://perma.cc/TVT2-947G]. It turned out that a subsidiary of Hewlett- transacting with Iran, this arrangement did not violate American law at the time . Id. 309. Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 , Pub. L. No. 112 - 158 , § 218 , 126 Stat. 1214 , 1234 ( 2012 ) (codified as amended at 22 U .S.C. § 8725 ( 2012 )). President Obama implemented section 218 by executive order in October 2012 . Exec. Order No. 13 , 628 , 77 Fed. Reg. 62 , 139 (Oct. 12 , 2012 ). 310 . Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, supra note 1 , annex II , at 13 . 311. 22 U.S.C. § 8551 (a) ( 2012 ) ; see also id. § 8785(a) (providing that section 218 “shall terminate” after the President makes the certification described in § 8551(a )). 312 . Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, Pub . L. No. 112 - 158 , § 601(a ), 126 Stat. 1214 , 1263 - 64 (citations omitted). 313. Rosen, supra note 307 . 314. See OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL , U.S. DEP'T OF TREASURY, GENERAL OR CONTROLLED BY A UNITED STATES PERSON 1 ( 2016 ). 315 . 22 U.S.C. § 8781 (a) ( 2012 ). 316 . Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 , Pub. L. No. 114 - 17 , 129 Stat. 201 ( 2015 ) (codified as amended at 42 U .S.C. § § 2011 note, 2160e (Supp . III 2016)). 317 . 42 U.S.C. § 2160e(a)(1) (Supp . IV 2017 ).


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Samuel Estreicher, Steven Menashi. Taking Steel Seizure Seriously: The Iran Nuclear Agreement and the Separation of Powers, Fordham Law Review, 2017,