The Opinions Clause Makes A Rare Appearance in Trump v. New York
Today, the Supreme Court decided Trump v. New York. In this case, the District Court enjoined the Secretary of Commerce from providing certain census data to the President. The Supreme Court vacated the lower-court decision on jurisdictional grounds. There was no merits ruling, but there was a reference to an obscure constitutional provision.
The Opinions Clause of Article II provides, “The President…may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices.”
This Clause is seldom litigated for obvious reasons: the government seldom puts restrictions on the sort of information the President can request from his principal officers. (Fun fact: the phrase “principal officers,” a common feature of Appointments Clause jurisprudence, does not actually appear in the Appointments Clause; it appears only in the Opinions Clause). But welcome to 2020. A federal di
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