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Pocket Veto Case

The Pocket Veto

The Constitution mandates that the president has ten days to veto a bill; if he does not return it with a veto during that time, the bill will automatically become a law. But if Congress is adjourned when those ten days are up, he may "pocket" the bill, thus vetoing it by default. This is the pocket veto, which has been used in two-fifths of all presidential vetoes. Supporters of a strong executive have favored the pocket veto, whereas adherents of a strong parliamentary government have tended to be opposed to it. Advocates stress that, though the pocket veto is not spelled out in the Constitution, it is a safety valve left there by the framers as a way of making government less rigid by allowing greater input from the executive branch in certain situations. Furthermore, Congress puts itself in the situation of being stymied by a pocket veto. Detractors argue that the pocket veto gives the president too much power and that the veto itself is a mere constitutional loophole.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940Pocket Veto Case - The Pocket Veto, President Coolidge's Pocket Veto And The Washington Tribes, A Definition Of Adjournment