Before this court is the plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and the defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Upon consideration of these motions, the responses thereto, and the entire record of the case, the court concludes that the plaintiffs' motion should be denied and that the defendants' motion should be granted on the ground that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring this action.
Plaintiffs are four members of the U.S. House of Representatives who have sued William Clinton, President of the United States, for allegedly violating the United States Constitution by issuing Executive Order 13061. On September 11, 1997, President Clinton signed Executive Order 13061, which created the American Heritage Rivers Initiative (AHRI), an initiative designed "to protect and restore rivers and their adjacent communities." Exec. Order No. 13061, 62 Fed. Reg. 48445 (1997). Under the AHRI, "the President will designate rivers that meet certain criteria as 'American Heritage Rivers,'" and "executive agencies . . ., to the extent permitted by law . . ., shall coordinate Federal plans, functions, programs, and resources to preserve, protect, and restore rivers and their associated resources important to our history, culture, and natural heritage." Id. at Section 1 (e), (b).
The plaintiffs contend that the President may not create legislation in the form of an Executive Order unless Congress has expressly delegated such authority to the President. The plaintiffs argue that Congress has not delegated to the president the authority to create the AHRI and that the president's action of signing Executive Order 13061 therefore violates the doctrine of Separation of Powers, as well as the Commerce Clause (Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 3), Property Clause (Art. IV, Sec. 3, Cl. 2), Spending Clause (Art. I, Sec. 9, Cl. 7) and Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the Anti-Deficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. § 1301 et seq., the Federal Land Management and Policy Act, 43 U.S.C. § 1701 et seq., and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et seq. Specifically, the President's action has deprived plaintiffs "of their ability to exercise their duties to review, debate, and vote on pending legislation and to conduct oversight as . . . included within the jurisdiction of their Committee and Subcommittees," and "of their constitutionally guaranteed responsibilities as Members of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, manage and regulate federal lands, and authorize and appropriate federal expenditures." (Pls.' Mot. for Prelim. Inj. at 7.) These are the injuries upon which the plaintiffs base their standing to bring this suit.
The defendants claim that Executive Order 13061 relies entirely on existing federal programs and results in no new regulatory authority, and therefore is constitutional. The defendants argue, further, that it is not necessary to reach the merits of the plaintiffs' complaint because the complaint should be dismissed for lack of standing. The court agrees that the complaint should be dismissed for lack of standing.
For the purposes of determining the plaintiffs' standing, "we must assume the validity of the [plaintiffs'] claim and construe the complaint in favor of the complaining parties." Moore v. U.S. House of Representatives, 236 U.S. App. D.C. 115, 733 F.2d 946, 950 (1984) (citing Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501, 45 L. Ed. 2d 343, 95 S. Ct. 2197 (1975)). Thus, we assume for this analysis that the President's signing of Executive Order 13061 unconstitutionally violated the Separation of Powers doctrine and the other constitutional provisions and statutes cited by plaintiffs.
The recent Supreme Court case, Raines v. Byrd, 138 L. Ed. 2d 849, 117 S. Ct. 2312 (1997), discusses the doctrine of standing. The court states,
Under Article III, § 2 of the Constitution, the federal courts have jurisdiction over this dispute . . . only if it is a "case" or "controversy." . . . One element of the case-or-controversy requirement is that [plaintiffs], based on their complaint, must establish that they have standing to sue. . . . To meet the standing requirements of Article III, "[a] plaintiff must allege personal injury fairly traceable to the defendant's allegedly unlawful conduct and likely to be redressed by the requested relief." . . . To have standing, the plaintiff must have suffered a "particularized" injury, which means that "the injury must affect the plaintiff in a personal and individual way."