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When Congress makes legislation, both houses are supposed to pass the same version of the bill. But when Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, a clerk’s error led the House and Senate to vote on different drafts of the legislation. This mistake prompted Public Citizen to challenge the constitutionality of the bill in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Last week, Judge John Bates threw out the case, finding that the court did not have the authority to examine congressional evidence. Although Bates acknowledged that other court rulings had raised “significant questions” about the court’s limited jurisdiction, he found that “in the absence of an express overruling” of the Supreme Court, he was “constrained to conclude that the rule remains in full effect today.”
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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