U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

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D.C. Circuit reverses unconstitutional delegation of authority to Amtrak

April 29, 2016

On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the D.C. Circuit held that Section 207 violates the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause on the grounds that it appoints power to an “unconstitutionally appointed arbitrator.”

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

July 06, 2015

The U.S. Chamber filed a coalition amicus brief in the D.C. Circuit in support of the Association of American Railroads on remand from the Supreme Court. In Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the D.C. Circuit’s judgment that Congress unconstitutionally delegated sovereign governmental authority to Amtrak as a private corporation. The Court held that Amtrak is a governmental entity, not a private business, and that therefore Congress did not unconstitutionally delegate power to a private party. Justice Alito filed a concurring opinion and Justice Thomas concurred in the judgment, both noting the significant constitutional issues raised by holding that Amtrak is a part of the Government.

In its brief before the D.C. Circuit, the Chamber argued that Section 207 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (“PRIIA”) violates the due process rights of Amtrak’s competitors, and that Amtrak’s pecuniary interests impermissibly taint any Section 207 rulemaking.

The Judicial Education Project and Resolute Forest Products Inc. filed this brief jointly with the Chamber.

Shannen W. Coffin and Michael J. Edney of Steptoe & Johnson LLP served as co-counsel for the Judicial Education Project and the Chamber.

Order recalling mandate issued 4/14/2015.

U.S. Chamber amicus brief filed 7/6/2015.

Argued 11/20/2015.

Decided 4/29/2016.

Case Documents