The law provided that upon a complaint raised by a ship's crew members, the state courts were (if no federal court was proximately located) to appoint an investigative committee of three persons "most skilful in maritime affairs" to report back. days before consummating the sale, unless the CLEO earlier notifies the

The provisions invalidated here, however, which directly compel state officials to administer a federal regulatory program, utterly fail to adhere to the design and structure of our constitutional scheme. The Brady Act, the dissent asserts,

Executive action that has utterly no policymaking component is rare, particularly at an executive level as high as a jurisdiction's chief law enforcement officer. The Constitution itself, in the Full Faith and Credit Clause, Art. But constitutional provisions, see supra, at 19-20, and not only those, 7 Hamilton recognized the force of his comments, acknowledging but rejecting opponents' "sophist[ic]" arguments to the effect that this position would "tend to the destruction of the State governments."

44, at 307.

[n.5], These problems are avoided, of course, if the calculatedly vague consequences

We find neither case relevant. In the interim, the Brady Act called for gun purchasers to fill out a personal information form.

27 and, so, no occasion to discount the authority of Hamilton's views as expressed in The Federalist as somehow reflecting the weaker side of a split constitutional personality. . These are important questions, but we have no business of these statutes, contrasted with the utter lack of statutes imposing The Brady Act effectively transfers this responsibility to thousands of CLEOs in the 50 States, who are left to implement the program without meaningful Presidential control (if indeed meaningful Presidential control is possible without the power to appoint and remove). of the congressional power to "prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, We granted certiorari. note, in this regard, that both CLEOs before us here assert that they are

We have held, however, that "essential agency" given by Madison, see infra, at 15 andn. It is impressive that even with 36, Federalist No.


U.S. District Judge John Roll, who had originally declared the Brady Act unconstitutional, was shot and killed in the 2011 Tucson shooting, the same mass shooting where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head. The Act requires the Attorney General to establish a national instant background-check system by November 30,1998, Pub.

[n.11]. they remain independent and autonomous within their proper sphere of authority.

The insistence of the Framers Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Democratic National Committee, 412 U. S. 94, 102 (1973).

(Our references throughout this opinion to "the dissent" As a general matter, Con-. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. Audio of the oral argument.

JAY PRINTZ, SHERIFF/CORONER, RAVALLI COUNTY, MONTANA, PETITIONER 95-1478 v. UNITED STATES RICHARD MACK, PETITIONER 95-1503 on writs of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit [June 27, 1997] Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.

Justice Souter contends that his interpretation of Federalist No. a weapon," and that "the burden on police officers [imposed by the Brady

is "supported by No. The Court identified an additional structural problem with commandeering the Sheriffs: it violated the constitutional separation of powers by robbing the President of the United States of his power to execute the laws; contradicting the "unitary executive theory". 51, at 323. in a given case to partisans of the measure at issue, because such measures

It functions, inter alia, by permitting Members of Congress to raise an objection by point of order to a pending bill that contains an "unfunded mandate," as defined by the statute, of over $50 million.19 The mandate may not then be enacted unless the Members make an explicit decision to proceed anyway. . 2.

Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people.

The Brady Act, the dissent asserts, is different from the "take title" provisions invalidated in New York because the former is addressed to individuals-namely, CLEOs-while the latter were directed to the State itself. 117 S.Ct. The dissent's assertion that the Act of July 20, 1790, ch. is directed to "individuals," it is directed to them in their official

27, at 174-175 (emphasis in original). U.S. 658, 690, n. 55 (1978); we have refused to apply it to the question power to set aside final judgments).

1976) (statement Two sheriffs, Jay Printz of Ravalii County, Montana, and Richard Mack of Graham County, Arizona, challenged the law successfully in separate lower federal court lawsuits, arguing that the federal law had placed an undue burden on local law enforcement officials. And even when the States are not forced to absorb the costs of implementing a federal program, they are still put in the position of taking the blame for its burdensomeness and for its defects. II, §3, personally and 17 The Departments" who are themselves presidential appointees), Art.

2. Rather, the occasional exceptions confirm the wisdom of Justice Holmes' reminder that "the machinery of government would not work if it were not allowed a little play in its joints." He was not talking about executing congressional statutes; he was talking about putting the National Constitution into effect by selecting the executive and legislative members who would exercise its powers. 45, at 292 It is not at all unusual for our. Amendment imposes no limitations on the exercise of delegated is that a sovereignty over sovereigns, a government over governments, a The dissent is correct, post, at 959-960, that control by the unitary Federal Executive is also sacrificed when States voluntarily administer federal programs, but the condition of voluntary state participation significantly reduces the ability of Congress to use this device as a means of reducing the power of the Presidency.

45, at 292 (J. Madison). Article I, § 8, grants Congress the power to regulate commerce among the States. The federal government violated the Tenth Amendment when Congress required state and local officials to perform background checks on people buying guns. 1193 (1992); Cottrol & Diamond, The Second Amendment: Toward an Afro-Americanist Reconsideration, 80 Geo.

courts to order state officials to comply with federal law. 80-81 (emphasis added). and conceded the invalidity of those that remained, leading us to vacate

protects us from our own best intentions: It divides power among sovereigns In FERC, we construed the most troubling provisions of the We have no doubt that FERC would not have been decided the way it was if nonadjudicative responsibilities of the state agency were at issue.

their services. Congress may require the States to implement its programs as a condition of federal spending,23 in order to avoid the threat of unilateral federal action in the area,24 or as a part of a program that affects States and private parties alike.25 The majority's suggestion in response to this dissent that Congress' ability to create such programs is limited, ante, at 923, n. 12, is belied by the importance and sweep of the federal statutes that meet this description, some of which we described in New York. When legislative action, or even administrative rulemaking, is at issue, it may be appropriate for Congress either to pre-empt the State's lawmaking power and fashion the federal rule itself, or to respect the State's power to fashion its own rules. is different from the answer to the question of which state officers may to rest upon reasonable implications. of the contents (and a copy) of the Brady Form, §§922(s)(1)(A)(i)(III) The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), 18 U. S. C. § 921 et seq., establishes a detailed federal scheme governing the distribution of firearms. dissent points out that FERC cannot be construed as merely following

The fact that our earliest opinions in this area, see Testa; Second Employers' Liability Cases, written at a time when the question was far more hotly contested, The majority's reinterpretation of Testa also contradicts our decision in FERG.

States to do neither.

As he went on to explain: "It is easy to perceive that this will tend to destroy, in the common apprehension, all distinction between the sources from which [the State and Federal Governments] might proceed; and will give the federal government the same advantage for securing a due obedience to its authority which is enjoyed by the government of each State."