Pocket Veto

views updated Jun 08 2018


POCKET VETO, an indirect veto by which a U.S. president negates legislation without affording Congress an opportunity for repassage by an overriding vote. The Constitution provides that measures presented by Congress to the president within ten days of adjournment and not returned by him before adjournment fail to become law. They are said to have been pocket vetoed. First employed by President James Madison, the pocket veto has been used by every president since Benjamin Harrison. Controversy over the practice has focused on the definition of "adjournment": presidential usage has included brief recesses, whereas congressional critics have argued that the term intends only lengthy adjournments.


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Norman C.Thomas/a. g.

See alsoConnecticut Compromise ; Constitution of the United States ; Delegation of Powers ; Implied Powers ; President, U.S.

Pocket Veto

views updated May 23 2018


If Congress adjourns within ten days after passing a bill, the President can prevent the bill's enactment by merely withholding his signature (Article I, section 7, clause 3, of the Constitution). By means of this extension of the veto power, the President can kill legislation without giving any reason and without the possibility of being overridden.

Dennis J. Mahoney

pocket veto

views updated May 23 2018

pock·et ve·to • n. an indirect veto of a legislative bill by the president or a governor by retaining the bill unsigned until it is too late for it to be dealt with during the legislative session.