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Presidential Veto/Pocket Veto Essay

1837 words - 7 pages

The Constitution provides the President with two kinds of vetoes in Article 1, Section 7, which have been used frequently during different Presidential terms throughout history. The co-founders of the constitution placed this veto power in the hands of the Executive Branch in order to provide further means of checks and balances. The regular or return veto also referred to as a qualified veto, is whereby the President takes two steps: he withholds executive signature and returns the bill with his objections to the House where it originated. The bill is then subject to override by Congress. The second is the pocket veto which has different procedures and a more resounding effect. “If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted), after it shall have been presented to him. The same shall be a Law, in the like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case is shall not be a law.” (Spitzer) A pocket veto is essentially used when Congress tries to pass legislation by a simple majority for which the President either finds the legislation unconstitutional, or the President objects to or does not want his name associated with it. In this event the President can kill the bill by doing nothing, which is, “just putting it in his pocket.” If Congress is still in session after the President has had it for the prescribed ten days and he makes no response to it, it becomes law anyway, without his signature. This veto is an absolute—it kills the legislation that is in question since there is no bill return and therefore no possibility of override. The only alternatives that Congress has when dealing with a pocket veto is either to stay in session for at least ten days after the passage of the bill, so that it can be returned to Congress, or start from scratch and repass the bill when congress reconvenes. Congress has also been known to attach legislation onto a bill that they feel the President would not veto.
George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson used these veto powers. Since the first Presidency in the United States; Franklin Delano Roosevelt had the most vetoes at 635 throughout his 12 years as President—263 of those being pocket vetoes, and only 9 were overridden. Andrew Johnson had a total of 29 vetoes, 8 of which were pocket vetoes. 15 of his vetoes were overridden, making it the most in US history. (History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives)
Andrew Johnson, (a Democrat), came to be President while acting as Vice President to Abraham Lincoln. He was in office March 4, 1875 – July 31, 1875. When Lincoln was assassinated, Johnson took his place and began to favor a quick restoration of the succeeded states to the Union. His plan did not provide adequate protection to the newly freed slaves and he immediately came in conflict with the Republican dominated Congress. The Republican Party was overwhelmingly in favor...

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