January 2nd, 2008


Spineless gits

The Speaker of the House, and the Senate Majority Leader are letting Bush falsely perform a pocket veto.

Right now he has the appropriations bill. Bush doesn't like it (there is no good reason given... the one about the Iraqi funds seems to be false, since other laws prevent the things the White House is claiming are so foul they force his hand to veto the bill).

But he's getting to perform a non-veto. He's just going to not do anything, and so wash his hands of having to affirmatively refuse to "supply the troops".

The argument is the House is in recess, and so he can't "Send it back to the House from which it originates".

Only this question was resolved in the Supreme Court in 1938, and the ruling goes against the apparent precision of the language in the Constitution.


In the Pocket Veto Case, the Court expressed the view that the House to which the bill is to be returned 'is the House in session,' and that no return can be made to the House when it is not in session as a collective body and its members are dispersed. But that expression should not be construed so narrowly as to demand that the President must select a precise moment when the House is within the walls of its chambers and that a return is absolutely impossible during a recess however temporary. Such a conclusion, as we shall presently endeavor to show, would frustrate the fundamental purposes of the constitutional provision as to action upon bills.

There is a lot more, careful, reasoning about the various ways in which the Constitution shuffles the use of plural and singular, and comes to the conclusion that, so long as either House is in Session, the President who fails to actively veto a bill, must accept that it becomes law, even without his signature.

Time to hit the phones, the e-mail and the postcards. You might even try a letter to the editor. Enough of those and one of them might even get printed.

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