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National Archives

Public Papers - 1991 - December

Memorandum of Disapproval for the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Act


With great regret, I am withholding my approval of S. 1176, the ``Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Act.'' Although the bill has a worthy goal and attempts to honor a respected public servant, it would violate the Constitution.

Under this bill, determinations about eligibility for Federal funds would be made by the Board of Trustees of a Foundation created by the bill. Of the Board's nine voting members, four would be appointed by the leadership of the Congress, and one would be appointed by the President of the University of Arizona. Under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, however, the Congress may not reserve to itself the power to appoint those who execute the laws, nor may it vest such power in a person outside the Federal Government.

In addition, the legislative history indicates that the members of the Board to be appointed by the congressional leadership might themselves be Members of Congress. Such appointments would raise serious problems under the Incompatibility and Ineligibility Clauses of the Constitution.

Accordingly, I have decided not to sign the bill within 10 days after presentment. Because the Congress is adjourned, this means that the bill will not become a law. I stress that I am withholding my signature for constitutional reasons alone and not because of any objection to the substantive goals of this bill or any lack of regard for Mo Udall. Representative Udall has had a long and distinguished public career. He has brought humor, intelligence, and dedication to the discharge of his duties and earned the esteem of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

Since funds appropriated to the Foundation will not be available until September 30, 1992, sufficient time remains for the Congress to present me a bill without constitutional defects. My Administration will work with the Congress to enact such a bill promptly.

I hope to sign legislation, early in the next session of the Congress, to honor Representative Udall in a constitutionally permissible fashion.

George Bush

The White House,

December 20, 1991.

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