[Dated February 27, 1976. Released February 28, 1976]
IN ACCORDANCE with the District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, I disapprove Act 1-88, the District of Columbia Shop-Book Rule Act.
The Act would make documentary records of business transactions admissible as evidence in any civil or criminal judicial proceeding in the courts of the District of Columbia. This "shop-book rule" is substantially identical to the one adopted by the D.C. Superior Court which took effect on June 30, 1975.
The issue is whether the City Council was acting within its authority under the District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act (Home Rule Act) in passing a law affecting the judicial procedures of the D.C. courts. The Federal interest is whether the intent of Congress in delegating legislative authority to the Council under the Home Rule Act has been appropriately carried out in this instance.
I am advised by the Department of Justice that this "shop-book rule" is clearly in the nature of a procedural rule which could properly be encompassed within the rules of civil procedure and that promulgation of the rule is clearly within the express power of the District of Columbia courts to adopt rules of civil procedure and, as such, is beyond the power of the City Council.
Therefore, since the Council has exceeded its statutory authority in enacting this bill, I am disapproving Act 1-88.
GERALD R. FORD
The White House,
February 27, 1976.