Facts of the Case
“Following the 1990 census, a State lost a congressional seat and brought an action against the President of the United States and the Secretary of Commerce, among others, that challenged the reapportionment and sought injunctive relief against the Executive Branch. The district court found that assigning overseas personnel to their “home of record” for apportionment purposes was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA),, and entered an injunction directing the President to recalculate the number of representatives. On direct appeal to the United States Supreme Court, the judgment of the district court was reversed.”
Does the absolute privilege granted to government officials for acts done in the scope of their official authority extend to statements to the press about matters under their supervision?
“The Secretary’s decision was not reviewable under the APA because it was not a “final agency action.” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, in the majority opinion, wrote that only agency decisions that complete the decision-making process and directly affect the party bring suit may be challenged under the APA. In this case the Secretary’s decision resulted merely in a set of findings reported to the President that he could ask to have revised using a different formula. Also, the recommendation (and therefore the procedure used to arrive at it) did not directly affect Massachusetts