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Session Laws, 1984
Volume 759, Page 4094   View pdf image
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General Sachs dated February 8, 1984 to the AELR Committee which,
without addressing the terms of the present legislation,
concluded that notwithstanding the recent decision of the Supreme
Court of the United States in Immigration and Naturalization
Service v. Chadha, U.S., 103 S.Ct. 2764 (1983), so-called
legislative veto provisions do not "plainly contravene a
provision of the [Maryland] Constitution." I am unable to agree
with the premises or conclusions of either the 1978 Opinion or
the 1984 letter.

The discussion of the constitutionality of the legislative
veto in the 1978 Opinion begins by noting origins of this
mechanism in the so-called "laying system" for review of
administrative regulations utilized by the British Parliament.
I am unpersuaded by the proposition that this analogy affords
support for the legislation proposed here. The British
constitutional system, in addition to being founded on an
unwritten constitution, is a system which has at its core the
concept of parliamentary supremacy rather than the separate and
coordinate branches of government scheme found in the Maryland
Constitution. Even more important for present purposes is the
fact that the British "laying system", to the extent that it
authorizes legislative veto of regulations, does not vest in any
committee of either house of Parliament powers remotely analogous
to those sought to be vested in the AELR Committee by this bill.

The 1978 Opinion while nothing that "the Attorneys General
of several other states, which have either enacted or considered
such legislation, have expressed grave concerns about the
constitutionality of such statutes" laid little stress upon the
pertinent case law in other jurisdictions which overwhelmingly
rejects the constitutional validity of provisions such as those
contained in House Bill 1255. The validity of such provisions
was rejected in an opinion of the Attorney General of Michigan
dated December 17, 1953; in an opinion of the Attorney General of
Wisconsin, 43 Opinions of the Attorney General of Wisconsin 350;
and in the opinion of the New York Court of Appeals, then
including among its members Judges Cardozo, Cuthbert, Pound, and
Irving Lehman in People v. Tremaine, 252 N.Y. 27, 168 N.E. 817
(1929); see also Moran v. La Guardia, 270 N.Y. 450, 1 N.E. 2n 961
(1936) and in an early opinion of the Supreme Court of California
in Mullen v. State, 114 CA 578, 46 P. 670 (1896). Three recent
opinions of state Supreme Courts point in the same direction.
See State v. Machin, 279 S.E. 2d 622 (W.Va. 1981); State v. Alive
Voluntary, 606 Pac. 2d 769 (Alaska 1980); and LRC v. Brown, 664
S.W. 2d 907 (Ky. 1984). Against this body of case law can be set
only the Opinion of the Justices, 121 N.H. 522, 431 A. 2d 783
(1981) which distinguishes two earlier contrary opinions of the
New Hampshire Supreme Court, and the opinion of the Supreme Court
of Colorado in Watrous v. Golden Chamber of Commerce, 121 Colo.
521, 218 Pac. 2d 498 (1950).

In its discussion of constitutional issues, the 1978 Opinion
laid heavy stress upon the opinion of the United States Court of


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Session Laws, 1984
Volume 759, Page 4094   View pdf image
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