a. The Supreme Court’s Separation-oﬂPowers Balancing Test Applies In This Context A congressionally imposed limitation on presidential action is assessed to determine “the extent to which it prevents the Executive Branch from accomplishing its constitutionally assigned functions,” and, if the “potential for disruption is present[,] . . . whether that impact is justiﬁed by an overriding need to promote objectives within the constitutional authority of Congress.” Administrator of General Services, 433 U.S. at 443; see Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 731,753- 754 (1982); United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 706-707 (1974). That balancing test applies to a congressional regulation of presidential power through the obstruction-of-justice laws. ‘087 When an Article 11 power has not been “explicitly assigned by the text of the Constitution to be within the sole province of the President, but rather was thought to be encompassed within the general grant to the President of the ‘executive Power,” the Court has balanced competing constitutional considerations. Public Citizen, 491 U.S. at 484 (Kennedy, J., concurring in the judgment, joined by Rehnquist, C.J., and O’Connor, J.). As Justice Kennedy noted in Public Citizen, the Court has applied a balancing test to restrictions on “the President’s power to remove Executive ofﬁcers, a power [that] . . . is not conferred by any explicit provision in the text of the Constitution (as is the appointment power), but rather is inferred to be a necessary part of the grant of the ‘executiVe Power.’” Id. (citing Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654, 694 (1988), and Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52, 115—1 16 (1926)). Consistent with that statement, Morrison sustained a good-cause limitation on the removal of an inferior ofﬁcer with defined prosecutorial responsibilities after determining that the limitation did not impermissibly undermine the President’s ability to perform his Article 11 functions. 487 U.S. at 691-693, 695-696. The Court has also evaluated other general executive-power claims through a balancing test. For, example, the Court evaluated the President’s claim of an absolute privilege for presidential communications about his ofﬁcial acts by balancing that interest against the Judicial Branch’s need for evidence in a criminal case. United States v. Nixon, supra (recognizing a qualiﬁed constitutional privilege for presidential communications on ofﬁcial matters). The Court has also upheld a law that provided for archival access to presidential records despite a claim of absolute presidential privilege over the records. Administrator of General Services, 433 U.S. at 443445, 451-455. The analysis in those cases supports applying a balancing test to assess the constitutionality of applying the obstruction-of-justice statutes to presidential exercises of executive power. Only in a few instances has the Court applied a different framework. When the President’s power is “both ‘exclusive’ and ‘conclusive’ on the issue,” Congress is precluded from regulating its exercise. Zivotoﬁbz v. Kerry, 135 S. Ct. 2076, 2084 (2015). In Zivotofsky, for example, the Court followed “Justice Jackson’s familiar tripartite framework” in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579, 63 5-638 (1952) (Jackson, J ., concurring), and held that the President’s 1°87 OLC applied such a balancing test in concluding that the President is not subject to criminal prosecution while in ofﬁce, relying on many of the same precedents discussed in this section. See A Sitting President ’3 Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution, 24 Op. O.L.C. 222, 237—238, 244-245 (2000) (relying on, inter alia, United States v. Nixon, Nixon v. Fitzgerald, and Clinton v. Jones, and quoting the legal standard from Administrator of General Services v. Nixon that is applied in the text). OLC recognized that “[t]he balancing analysis” it had initially relied on in finding that a sitting President is immune from prosecution had “been adopted as the appropriate mode of analysis by the Court.” Id. at 244. 1"“
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