Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on the Supreme Court's Decision Upholding the Constitutionality of the Independent Counsel Act


June 29, 1988


The United States Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of the Independent Counsel Act. In so doing, the Court reversed a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Justice Kennedy did not participate in the decision of the case.


The President signed an extension of the Independent Counsel Act in December 1987. At that time, he expressed his full support for the goal of ensuring public confidence in the impartiality and integrity of criminal law investigations of high-level executive branch officials. At the same time, the President expressed concern that the act's procedures were inconsistent with the text of the Constitution and the principle of separation of powers. Despite these doubts about the constitutionality of the Independent Counsel Act, the administration has faithfully and consistently complied with all of the act's requirements, even offering the ongoing Independent Counsels parallel appointments within the Department of Justice to protect them against constitutional challenge. Thus, today's decision by the Court will have no practical effect on the administration's implementation of the Independent Counsel Act or on the ongoing investigations. We cannot comment on the consequences of this decision for any existing cases.