Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bush Guts Constitution, Again

"In other words, I jez set aside th'
consteetushun an' do whut I want."
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

"Whaddaya mean I caint do that?"
REUTERS/Larry Downing

"Ah donwanna play preznent no more."
AP Photo/Ron Edmonds

GW Bush continues his crusade to gut the US Constitution, this time by claiming the Senate is in adjournment when it is not.

On Friday (12/28), Bush announced a "pocket veto" of H.R. 1585:
The adjournment of the Congress has prevented my return of H.R. 1585 within the meaning of Article I, section 7, clause 2 of the Constitution. Accordingly, my withholding of approval from the bill precludes its becoming law. The Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 655 (1929). In addition to withholding my signature and thereby invoking my constitutional power to "pocket veto" bills during an adjournment of the Congress, I am also sending H.R. 1585 to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, along with this memorandum setting forth my objections, to avoid unnecessary litigation about the non-enactment of the bill that results from my withholding approval and to leave no doubt that the bill is being vetoed.

Bush is claiming this is a "pocket veto," as defined in Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution. The President must either sign or veto a legislative bill within 10 days of its delivery to him, "unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return...."

Congress has not adjourned. The Senate has remained in session over the holiday break. In fact, the most recent pro forma session was Friday (12/28).

Congress delivered H.R. 1585 to Bush on Wednesday, December 19th. The Constitution exempts Sundays from the 10 day period. The ten days aren't up until (at least) Monday, December 31st. Bush has until then to attach his signature to his veto (an affirmative veto) or the bill becomes law.

Why is this important? Because Bush is flat out claiming the Senate's pro forma sessions do not mean what the Constitution says they mean -- Congress is still in session; Congress has not adjourned. And if that is accepted, then Bush can make recess appointments.

But wait! There's more! H.R. 1585 contains several provisions for veterans and active members of the Armed Forces, including a 3.5% pay raise, effective Jan. 1, 2008. The bill authorizes additional assistance for military families, retirement pay, disability pay, etc. Oh, and it authorizes $150.91 billion for appropriations for the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

How exactly is Bush supporting the troops here?

George W. Bush is vetoing this bill. He just doesn't want to actually put his signature to that veto, claiming Congress is preventing him from doing so, and thus ignoring the U.S. Constitution. Again.

[hat tip to Kagro X]