Does the Gramm-Rudman Act violate the Constitution? Oklahoma Democratic Congressman Mike Synar raised that question hours after President Reagan signed the budget-balancing bill into law last December, in a suit joined by eleven Representatives of both parties. Last Friday a panel of three federal judges--Antonin Scalia, a staunch conservative; Norma Johnson, a liberal; and Oliver Gasch, moderately conservative--gave a unanimous answer: one key provision does breach the principle that Legislative and Executive powers be kept separate. "Therefore the automatic deficit reduction process . . . cannot be implemented."

The case will immediately be appealed to the Supreme Court, which may decide...

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