Summary: H.R.1544 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (02/25/1998)

Federal Agency Compliance Act - Requires a Federal agency and its officers and employees, in administering a statute, rule, regulation, program, or policy (statute) within a judicial circuit, to adhere to the existing precedent respecting the interpretation and application of such statute, as established by the decisions of the U.S. court of appeals for that circuit, with exceptions.

Allows an agency to take a position, either in administration or litigation, that is at variance with such precedent if: (1) it is uncertain whether the administration of the statute will be subject to review by the appeals court that established that precedent or a court of appeals for another circuit; (2) the Government did not seek further review of the case in which that precedent was first established in that appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court because neither the United States nor any agency or officer thereof was a party to the case or because the decision establishing that precedent was otherwise substantially favorable to the Government; or (3) it is reasonable to question the continued validity of that precedent in light of a subsequent decision of that appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court, a subsequent change in any pertinent statute or regulation, or any other subsequent change in the public policy or circumstances on which that precedent was based.

Requires: (1) the officers of any Federal agency supervising the conduct of litigation to ensure that the initiation, defense, and continuation of proceedings in the U.S. courts within, or subject to the jurisdiction of, a particular judicial circuit avoids unnecessarily repetitive litigation on questions of law already consistently resolved against the U.S. position in precedents established by the U.S. courts of appeals for three or more other judicial circuits; (2) decisions on whether to initiate, defend, or continue litigation for purposes of this Act to take into account specified factors, including the effect of intervening changes in pertinent law or the public policy or circumstances on which the established precedents were based; and (3) the Attorney General to report annually to specified congressional committees on the Federal agency efforts to comply with such requirements. Specifies that a decision on whether to initiate, defend, or continue litigation is not subject to court review on the grounds that the decision violates such requirements.