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When Congressional Legislation Interferes with Existing Contracts: Legal Issues
Robert Meltz (au)
Laws enacted by Congress on occasion interfere with contracts entered into before enactment, prompting suits against the U.S. by disappointed contract parties. In a few of them, courts have awarded billions of dollars to the U.S.äó» contracting partners. This report surveys the legal theories invoked in such suits. Note that litigation on the grounds covered herein can be avoided entirely if the congressional enactment is construed to apply only to future contracts. Two competing interests underlie this topic. On the one hand, protection of settled expectations, at least to some degree, is essential to ordered society. Contract law has this goal for expectations embodied in contracts. On the other hand, government needs latitude to address new problems, so contracts generally are said to confer no immunity against future legislation. The balance struck by the case law is that while Congress legitimately can thwart performance under existing contracts, the U.S. may in some instances have to pay compensation. Contents of this report: Introduction; The Competing Interests in Protecting Contract Rights; Waiver of Sovereign Immunity and Vesting of Jurisdiction; Federal Actions Interfering with Public Contract Rights; Federal Actions Interfering with Private Contract Rights. This is a print on demand report.
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