Pocket veto

From Academic Kids

A pocket veto is a legislative maneuver in American federal lawmaking. The U.S. Constitution requires the President to sign or veto any legislation placed on his desk within ten days (not including Sundays). If he does not then it becomes law by default. The one exception to this rule is if Congress adjourns before the ten days is up. In such a case the bill does not become law, it is effectively, but not actually, vetoed. Ignoring legislation, or "putting a bill in one's pocket" until Congress adjourns is thus called a pocket veto. Since Congress cannot vote while in adjournment, a pocket veto cannot be overriden.

From the U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section 7: "...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 like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law. "

Courts have never fully clarified when an adjournment by Congress would "prevent" the President from returning a vetoed bill. Some Presidents have interpreted the Constitution to restrict the pocket veto to the adjournment sine die of Congress at the end of the second session of the two-year Congressional term, while others interpreted it to allow intersession and intrasession pocket vetoes. In 1929, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a bill had to be returned to the chamber while it is in session and capable of work. A three-day recess of the Senate was considered a short enough time that the Senate could still act with "reasonable promptitude" on the veto. However, a five-month adjournment would be a long enough period to enable a pocket veto. Within those constraints, there still exists some ambiguity; Presidents have been reluctant to pursue disputed pocket vetoes to the Supreme Court for fear of an adverse ruling that would serve as a precedent in future cases[1] (http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL30909.pdf).

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