Reading Room Document
Constitutionality of Enrolled Bill Restricting the Withdrawal of Public Land for National Defense
The constitutionality of an enrolled bill providing that withdrawals of public lands for national defense purposes shall not become effective until approved by act of Congress involves a question as to the relationship between the President's constitutional powers as Commander in Chief and the constitutional authority of Congress over the public lands. The exception that would make the enrolled bill's restrictions inapplicable in time of national emergency declared by the President may be adequate to resolve whatever doubt there may be as to the constitutionality of the bill in favor of a conclusion that it makes sufficient provision for the exercise in time of national emergency of the President's powers as Commander in Chief. The OLC does not provide release dates for its opinions, so the release date listed is the date on which the opinion was authored. The original opinion is available at www.justice.gov/file/20751/download.
The OLC's Opinions
Opinions published by the OLC, including those released in response to our FOIA lawsuit