Presidential Veto


veto [Lat.,=I forbid], power of one functionary (e.g., the president) of a government, or of one member of a group or coalition, to block the operation of laws or agreements passed or entered into by the other functionaries or members.

In the U.S. government, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to veto any bill passed by Congress. The president's veto power is limited; it may not be used to oppose constitutional amendments, and it may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress. In practice, the veto is used rarely by the president (although Franklin D. Roosevelt vetoed over 600 bills), and a bill once vetoed is rarely reapproved in the same form by Congress. The pocket veto is based on the constitutional provision that a bill fails to go into operation if it is unsigned by the president and Congress goes out of session within ten days of its passage; the president may effectively veto such a bill by ignoring it. The British crown's technical veto power over acts of Parliament has not been exercised since 1707.

American states have generally given their governors veto power similar to that of the president. In addition, more than 40 states have legislated a line-item veto, which, in varying terms, allows the governor to veto particular provisions of taxing and spending bills. In 1996, Congress passed a law that gave the president a limited ability to kill items in similar federal bills, but it was ruled unconstitutional in 1998.

The second type of veto, by one member of a coalition, has been seen frequently as exercised by one or another member of the United Nations Security Council; its use within the European Union is under debate.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Presidential Veto: Touchstone of the American Presidency
Robert J. Spitzer.
State University of New York Press, 1988
Veto Threats as a Policy Tool: When to Threaten? (Articles)
Deen, Rebecca E.; Arnold, Laura W.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 1, March 2002
An Article I, Section 7 Perspective on Administrative Law Remedies
Bershteyn, Boris.
The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 114, No. 2, November 2004
The Myth of the Modern Presidency
David K. Nichols.
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "The Veto Power (Article I, Section 7)" begins on p. 58
The Legislative Struggle: A Study in Social Combat
Bertram M. Gross.
McGraw-Hill, 1953
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 19 "The President Votes: Approval or Veto"
The Politics of Shared Power: Congress and the Executive
Louis Fisher.
Texas A&M University Press, 1998 (4th edition)
Librarian’s tip: "The Item Veto" begins on p. 242
Constitutional Reform and Effective Government
James L. Sundquist.
Brookings Institutuion, 1986 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: "The Item Veto" begins on p. 281
Presidential Power: Forging the Presidency for the Twenty-First Century
Robert Y. Shapiro; Martha Joynt Kumar; Lawrence R. Jacobs.
Columbia University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "The Indirect Approach: Studying Veto Bargaining" begins on p. 60
The Law: The "Protective Return" Pocket Veto: Presidential Aggrandizement of Constitutional Power
Spitzer, Robert J.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 4, December 2001
Honor and Loyalty: Inside the Politics of the George H.W. Bush White House
Leslie D. Feldman; Rosanna Perotti.
Greenwood Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "The Veto King: The 'Dr. No' Presidency of George Bush"
Ronald Reagan's America
Eric J. Schmertz; Natalie Datlof; Alexej Ugrinsky.
Greenwood Press, vol.2, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 20 "A Positive Negative: Veto Strategy and Success by the Reagan Administration"
FDR and the Modern Presidency: Leadership and Legacy
Mark J. Rozell; William D. Pederson.
Praeger, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "The Veto Record of FDR"
The Presidency and Domestic Policies of Jimmy Carter
Herbert D. Rosenbaum; Alexej Ugrinsky.
Greenwood Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 14 "Veto Strategy and Use by the Carter Administration"
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