Law: Who Controls the Comptroller?

The Justices prepare to rule on the budget-deficit law

A debate that centers on the proper role of the Comptroller General of the U.S. would seem poor bait to draw a crowd. Yet the courtroom of the U.S. Supreme Court was packed last week with visitors who came to watch a tangled legal battle over just that issue, and with good reason. Rarely has such a narrow question held such wide implications for the conduct of Government. The real issue at hand was the budget-balancing scheme of the storied Gramm-Rudman Act. Whether the Comptroller is a servant of Congress or an impartial accountant is likely to be the point on...

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