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Holtzman v. Schlesinger

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
484 F.2d 1307 (2d Cir. 1973)


After United States ground forces had been removed from Cambodia in 1970, the U.S. continued to provide air support. Attempts to end the fighting were unsuccessful, and three years later, U.S. forces proceeded to bomb Cambodian Communist groups there. In May of 1975, Congress passed a bill disapproving the bombings by cutting off all funds that had been supporting U.S. initiatives in Cambodia. On June 27, President Nixon vetoed the bill, believing it would chill the possibility of a settlement in the country. The House did not override the president’s veto, and two days later, Congress and the president signed an agreement allowing U.S. involvement in Cambodia to continue only until August 15, 1973, after which time all activities would cease. The matter came before a federal district court, which issued a judgment that there was no congressional authority for the president to order American military forces in combat or to release bombs in Cambodia. The district court further held that these actions by members of the American armed forces (defendants) were unauthorized and consequently unlawful. The order further enjoined the defendants and their officers from participating in any way in military activities in Cambodia. The defendants appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Mulligan, J.)

Dissent (Oakes, J.)

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