Perhaps more important, the court squarely rejected the Commerce Department's argument that action taken under IEEPA nevertheless should be immune from judicial review because of the "intimate relationship . . . between the control of exports and foreign policy and national security."46 The court characterized this argument as simply raising the question of whether the challenged agency action constituted a nonjusticiable political question.47 The court noted that the plaintiff merely was challenging the Commerce Department's interpretation and application of the EAR in its particular circumstances, and was not challenging any broad policy decisions of the executive branch. Consequently, the court held that the plaintiff's challenge did not raise a nonjusticiable political question and that the Commerce Department's action was reviewable.48 The court did, however, emphasize that "in reviewing [the plaintiff's] claims the court will be careful to give appropriate deference to the policy questions [sic] which the legislative and executive branches have already made."49
Thus, the Nuclear Pacific opinion supports the argument that judicial review can exist in areas that are related to foreign policy or national security. The opinion is also significant because it suggests that the familiar "political question" doctrine should serve as the dividing line between reviewable ministerial decisions and unreviewable policy determinations. Although an extended discussion of the political question doctrine is outside the scope of this paper, the doctrine is set forth succinctly in Baker v. Carr50 The Baker Court described the doctrine as follows:
Prominent on the surface of any case held to involve a political question is found a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; or the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion; or the impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government, or an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made; or the potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one question.51
Thus, it is reasonable to argue that the political question doctrine, as set out in Baker and developed in the courts, could be applied as a principled means of preventing judicial infringement on the proper discretion of the executive branch.
Another example of a federal statute that has a function similar to the EAA's but does not exempt itself from APA judicial review is the Arms Export Control Act (AECA),52 which authorizes controls on the export of