Thursday, March 18, 2010

Is "Deem & Pass" Constitutional?

The congress was recently rebuffed for going into mob mode then stampeding out a bill that was voted in by both houses, and signed by the president; then held to be unconstitutional.

One can reasonably wonder if they are doing it again with the "Deem And Pass" parliamentary procedures now being contemplated.

On any major bill it would be better to have a vote, but is a vote and a record of the vote required?

An argument can be made that the U.S. Constitution requires such a vote on any bill in both houses of congress:
Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a law. But in all such cases the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively.
(Article I, Sec. 7, emphasis added). The counter argument would probably be that "in all such cases" only applies to vetoes overridden by 2/3 majority, but that would result in an absurd conclusion.

It would be an absurd result because very few bills are vetoed, and even fewer are overridden.

So if it were interpreted not to apply to all bills, there would in effect be no way to know how congress members voted.

That should not be the law, open vote record keeping should be the law.

1 comment:

  1. Short answer, NO, it should NOT be constitutional.