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NAACP v. MEESE

July 2, 1985

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
EDWIN MEESE, III, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREENE

 MEMORANDUM

 In this action, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and nine individuals seek an order (1) enjoining the Attorney General and his subordinates from reopening, causing to be reopened, or consenting to the reopening of any decree in an action brought by the government under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, *fn1" on the basis that such decree contains goals, timetables, numerical remedies, or other relief for persons not proven to be "actual victims" of discrimination, and (2) requiring the Attorney General (a) to report to plaintiffs and to this Court if any other party seeks to modify or reopen such decree, (b) to advise the court in which a motion to reopen or modify is made of the pendency of this action, and (c) to provide plaintiffs with a list of all such cases and copies of all correspondence relating to such possible modification of such decrees. Additionally, plaintiffs seek to have this Court declare that goals, timetables, or numerical remedies entered by a court after a finding of discrimination or by consent of the parties do not violate Title VII, the Constitution, or any law of the United States. *fn2" Plaintiffs have requested a preliminary and permanent injunction; the defendant has moved to dismiss; and the Court has received briefs and heard oral argument.

 On the merits, this action involves a dispute between the parties on the validity of employment goals and timetables for minorities and women in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Firefighters Local Union No. 1784 v. Stotts, 467 U.S. 561, 104 S. Ct. 2576, 81 L. Ed. 2d 483 (1984). The Department of Justice has apparently given the Stotts decision a far different and broader interpretation than have plaintiffs and several courts of appeals. *fn3" However, notwithstanding plaintiffs' request, this Court cannot validly consider the meaning of Stotts in this lawsuit since, whatever may be the proper interpretation of that decision, plaintiffs' action is faced at the very outset with insurmountable procedural barriers.

 Although the parties have briefed and argued a great many issues, *fn4" two fundamental principles of law so clearly stand as obstacles to the grant of relief by the Court that none of the other issues is open for consideration. Plaintiffs' action must fail (1) under the principle of the separation of powers, and (2) because this Court lacks authority to interfere with or to seek to guide litigation in other district courts throughout the United States.

 I

 What plaintiffs are asking this Court in essence to do is to direct the formulation and presentation by the Department of Justice of its legal position in a number of lawsuits, whether now pending in federal courts *fn5" or to be filed in such courts in the future. However, it is settled by law that Article II of the Constitution reserves to the President and, by implication, to his principal legal adviser, the Attorney General, the authority to prosecute actions on behalf of the United States and otherwise to present the views of the United States in the courts. The principle that prosecutorial discretion lies within the exclusive province of the Executive Branch has been expounded in such decisions as United States v. Mendoza, 464 U.S. 154, 104 S. Ct. 568, 573, 78 L. Ed. 2d 379 (1984), where the Court noted that

 
while the Executive Branch must of course defer to the Judicial Branch for final resolution of questions of constitutional law, the former nevertheless controls the progress of government litigation through the federal courts

 and Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 138, 46 L. Ed. 2d 659, 96 S. Ct. 612 (1976), where it said that

 
it is to the President, and not to Congress, that the Constitution entrusts the responsibility to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Art. II, § 3.

 That principle, to be sure, is not absolute: it is subject to exceptions where the Congress has explicitly, and for special, valid reasons, vested portions of the Executive's prosecutorial discretion in individuals ultimately responsible to the judicial branch. *fn6" But no court has ever held, or even intimated, that the courts may superintend the exercise of the prosecutorial power of the Attorney General absent a direct and unambiguous congressional mandate. There is no such mandate here.

 A.

 Plaintiffs rely for support of their position in this regard on the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 553, and on Executive Order No. 12067, 43 Fed. Reg. 28967 (1978).

 The APA provides that review may be had in the courts for "final agency action for which there is no other adequate remedy in a court." 5 U.S.C. § 704. The complaint in this case fails ...


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