What Is Veto Power?

What Is Veto Power?



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What Is Veto Power? - HISTORY


at the start of the French and Indian War, Gov. Dinwiddie called the General Assembly into session
Source: Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia Gazette (Hunter: March 21, 1755, p.4)

When the General Assembly started in 1619, the Virginia Company began to grant authority to the residents in the colony to govern themselves. Since the arrival of Sir George Yeardley from Bermuda in 1610, the company's appointed governor had possessed all executive authority in Virginia. The Virginia Company chose to share authority with colonists, and reduce the power of the governor, by issuing the Great Charter in 1618.

That set of instructions in 1618 created the headright system, offering 50 acres of land to all new settlers. Creation of a colonist-led General Assembly and an appointed Council of State to advise the governor was expected to alter the negative perception that colonists must accept arbitrary Virginia Company policies in Virginia. 1

When the private company lost its charter and Virginia became royal colony in 1624, the king or queen of England apointed a Royal Governor and a Council of State to advise him. Officials in London issued royal instructions to the governor, who sought to shape the decisions of the elected House of Burgesses and the appointed Council of State. The governor decided when the House of Burgesses would start meeting, , when it ended, and when there would be elections for new burgesses.

Technically, the colonial governor in Jamestown and then Williamsburg lacked the direct authority to veto bills passed by the House of Burgesses. He did have substantial leverage, including the ability to determine who received appointments to various official positions that generated fees for the appointee.

To block passage on an undesired bill, the governor could force an immediate cessation of a meeting of the House of Burgesses. He could "prorogue" the legislature, foring an end to a meeting but leaving the membership of legislature unchanged until he recall the house back into sesssion later. The governor had a stronger option of dissolving the House of Burgesses, forcing a new election in which some opponents might not run again or might not get re-elected.

During the colonial period, the Council of State could refuse to assent to a bill and block action by the House of Burgesses, but the Council also could outvote the governor and approve a law despite his opposition. When outvoted, the governor had one more option. Laws passed by the General Assembly required royal assent before going into effect. The governor could advise officials in London to exercise the king's prerogative to veto legislation.

The practical authority of the colonial governor morphed over time, reflecting the increasing economic power of the First Families of Virginia who controlled tobacco exports. One, the colony's leaders "thrust out" the governor. The General Assembly forced Governor Harvey out in the 1630's, by declaring he was no longer the governor and placing him on a ship back to England.

Governor Harvey was sent back to Virginia by King George II for just a token term of service, and his replacement Sir Francis Wyatt re-established the authority of the royal governor. The next governor, Sir William Berkeley, then negotiated deals with the gentry that dominated the House of Burgesses. The cooperative relationship eliminated the effective checks and balances within colonial government. The result was high taxes that enriched just a few officials rather than provided services for many colonists, and such income inequality that Bacon's Rebellion erupted in 1776.

Starting with the appointment of Sir Thomas Culpeper as governor in 1677, a lieutenant was sent to Virginia to represent an actual governor who stayed in England. During the 1700's, the House of Burgessess' control over taxes and appropriations allowed the Virginia gentry to gain power over the acting governor, the representative in Williamsburg of the king/queen in England. In 1768, George III required Lord Botetourt to go in person to Virginia and re-establish executive control within the colonial government.

In the 1760's and early 1770's, proroguing/dissolving the House of Burgesses and the use of the royal prerogative to block colonial laws spurred Virginians to rebel against executive direction from London. The Fifth Virginia Convention declared Virginia to be an independent state in June, 1776.

The members of the Fifth Virginia Convention rebelled against the king, and were opposed to creating a strong executive in the new state government to replace him. The first state constitution, adopted in 1776, reduced the governor's authority by having the legislature appoint him to just a one-year term.

Patrick Henry was elected the first governor. His opponents supported his election because moving him to the governor's office reduced his capacity to shape legislation through his extraordinary speaking ability in the General Assembly, and he lost the ability to vote on bills.

Under the first state constitution adopted in 1776, the legislature was perceived as the primary agent of the people. The governor was the agent of the king or queen during the colonial period, so Virginia's first constitution did not give him authority to veto specific bills. Patrick Henry also could not block action by the legislature like colonial governors, because the 1776 state constitution declared: 2

The Governor shall not prorogue or adjourn the Assembly, during their sitting, nor dissolve them at any time.


Patrick Henry was elected the first governor after Virginia declared its independence in 1776, and placing him in that executive position minimized his power in the state government
Source: Library of Congress, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Patrick Henry delivering his great speech on the rights of the colonies, before the Virginia Assembly, convened at Richmond, March 23rd 1775, concluding with the above sentiment, which became the war cry of the revolution

The ability of a governor to exercise executive authority has grown gradually but substantially since 1776. In 1830, a new state constitution created a three-year term for the governor, though sequential elections were banned to ensure no executive gained too much political power. The 1851 constitution extended the governor's term to four years, while also starting the process of electing governors directly by the voters rather than by the legislature.

In 1870, a new state constitution gave the governor the power to veto bills passed by the General Assembly. If he rejected a bill passed by the two houses of the legislature, they could override his veto by re-passing the bill with a two-thirds majority of all the members present. However, the governor gained the power to block legislation that may have been endorsed by a majority of legislators, but was opposed by at least one-third of the members in each house.

The governor was also given the opportunity in the 1870 constitution to allow a bill to become law without his approval. If he simply failed to act on a bill within five days after it was sent to him, it became law automatically. However, if the General Assembly adjourned within that five-day window, any bill not signed by the governor was "pocket vetoed." As a result, the governor had greater authority over legislation passed at the very end of a legislative session. 3

Since the 1902 constitution was proclaimed to be in effect, Virginia governors have had the right to propose amendments to legislation. The General Assembly had to approve the amendments for them to go into effect. If the amendments came too late in the session for consideration or were rejected by the legislature, then the recommended changes would not be incorporated into the bill. That left the governor with the option of accepting the original legislation as passed by the General Assembly, or vetoing it.

The 1902 constitution also expanded the power of the governor by authorizing the line item veto for appropriations bills. Since 1902, a governor has been able to veto just a slice of the state budget, the line that allocates money to a state program. The budget line item veto authority had first been included in the constitution adopted by the Confederate States of America. 4

Between 1870-1928, the governor's veto power was one of his few management tools for controlling state operations.

In 1928, Governor Harry Byrd led a reorganization of state government that culminated in major amendments to the state constitution. In that process, the governor's authority to manage the executive branch was greatly expanded. He gained control over previously-fragmented state agencies. Centralized decisionmaking and financial management since 1928 has enabled the governor to shape the implementation of laws without having to veto them.

Based on the 1971 constitution, the governor can sign, veto, or propose amendments to bills passed by the General Assembly. The "pocket veto," blocking a bill from becoming a law by taking no action, is no longer an option in Virginia. If the governor refuses to sign or veto a bill, then the state constitution says that it automatically becomes a law. 5

The governor has seven days to act, if the General Assembly is still in session after it has delivered a bill to the governor's office. If the bill was passed at the end of the session and the General Assembly adjourned within seven days of delivery, or if the bill was delivered after the session had ended, then the governor has 30 days to act on it. 6


since 1849, the governor has had an office on the third floor of the state Capitol
Source: Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia State Capitol - Third Floor Virtual Tour

The percentage of bills approved by both houses but ultimately blocked by the governor is tiny. In the General Assembly's January-March 2019 session, by one calculation the governor signed 883 laws passed by both houses, vetoed 17 bills, and recommended amendments to 48 others. He also suggested 40 amendments to the appropriations bill, giving legislators a chance to modify the budget before exercising his line item veto authority. 7

Under the state constitution, the General Assembly can override any veto by a vote of two-thirds of the members present in the House of Delegates and two-thirds of the members present in the State Senate. However, between 1902-1980 governors could veto bills passed at the end of the session with confidence that the veto would stick. The General Assembly would not reconvene for another year and have a chance to override the veto, unless two-thirds of the members in each house called for a special session.

Constitutional amendments passed in 1980 and 1994 have created today's automatic Reconvened Session (typically called the "veto session") of the legislature. Reconvening the General Assembly on the sixth Wednesday after adjournment gives it an opportunity to override the governor's vetoes of legislation passed in the last session, and to approve, modify, or reject amendments proposed by the governor. 8

The governor's amendments can be rejected by the General Assembly. If it does not concur, the legislation with rejected amendments is returned to the governor for action. If the governor vetoes the bill, then it does not become law. If the governor takes no action on the bills with rejected amendments, then the original legislation becomes law after 30 days. 9

If a governor's proposed amendment is approved by a majority in each house during the veto session, the governor's revision becomes part of the new law. An amendment proposed by the governor can be altered by the General Assembly it is not a "take it or leave it" proposition.

Determining how an amendment might alter all aspects of existing or proposed law is not always clear and simple. A governor could even submit contradictory amendments for consideration. An amendment may trigger negotiations that result in a substantive change in the bill, which can become law if the modified version is approved by both houses and signed by the governor.

In 2019, for example, the General Assembly could not resolve how to pay for upgrades to I-81. It passed a bill creating the I-81 Corridor Improvement Fund but rejected proposals to generate funding, after the trucking industry objected to plans for adding tolls to the interstate highway. Via an amendment, Governor Northam proposed a different funding mechanism, based on a regional tax on gasoline sales and a statewide increase in truck registration and diesel fuel taxes. That was acceptable to the legislators in the region, and the amendment led to a final decision rather than an extension of debate for yet another year. 10

If both houses do not approve an amendment as proposed or in some revised version, the governor has two choices. The governor can agree to let the original bill become law, without the amendment, or can veto the law.


athe General Assembly has an automatically-scheduled "veto session"
Source: Virginia Legislative Information System, Constitution of Virginia

A governor still has one path for preventing the General Assembly from overriding his or her veto. After the veto session adjourns, the governor can veto an amended bill. Typically that occurs when the amendments were altered, but a veto is possible even if the governor's proposed amendments had been accepted without change. Unless the General Assembly meets in a special session later that year, there is no opportunity to override a veto which occurs after the veto session until the next regular session. At that point, almost a year later, legislators can pass new law to "correct" the veto, but an election before the next regular session might have altered the membership of the General Assembly.

The governor's line item veto authority for appropriations bills can modify a budget without vetoing the entire bill, which would be a drastic action that could leave the state unable to legally incure any expenses and dramatically interrupt operations. Vetoing a line item also enables a governor to eliminate funding that would implement a policy initiative which the governor opposed, but could not block by vetoing a different bill.

The governor does not have the authority to increase or reduce the appropriated amount, or to retain the funding but redirect its use.

The entire line in the appropriation bill must be vetoed, ending all funding for that item and eliminating the direction on how it should be spent. Each line item must have a distinct purpose, so the impacts of an appropriation and a veto would be clear to the voters.

Appropriations item in budget bills passed by the General Assembly must have comply with the "single object" requirement in the state constitution. That requirement blocks legislators from combining unrelated issues into one line item, "logrolling" separate parts together. The logrolling practice could capture support from diffferent members of the General Assembly who might vote for the consolidated language in order to get the one piece they desired, even though there was not a majority within the legislature for any of the pieces individually.

The Supreme Court of Virginia used to be the ultimate umpire who could determined if a bill meets the single object standard. For budget bills, it has stated: 11

An item in an appropriation bill is an indivisible sum of money dedicated to a stated purpose

The legislature has clawed back some of its power regarding how it considers gubernatorial amendments. In 1994, voters approved a revision to the state constitution which gave the legislature authority to determine, by majority vote of the members present in either house, if one or more amendments proposed by the governor were specific enough for a separate vote. If not, then the amendments could be ignored. The unchanged bill, as originally passed, would be returned to the Governor for complete veto or complete approval. 12

Governor Terry McAuliffe set the record for Virginia governors and vetoed 111 bills while serving in 2014-2018, including proposals to deny public funding to Planned Parenthood because it offered abortion-related services. None of the 111 vetoes were overturned by the General Assembly, even though both houses were controlled by the opposition party (Republicans) during his term. Gov. McAuliffe made 80 amendments to appropriations bills during his four-year term, and the General Assembly approved over 80% of them. 13

One of the hottest amendments not accepted from Gov. McAuliffe' was his proposal to expand Medicaid and implement "Obamacare" in Virginia. That expansion did not occur until after the 2017 election, when a "blue wave" flipped 15 seats in the House of Delegates and the Republican majority dropped to 51-49. In the first year of Gov. Ralph Northam's term, the General Assembly approved Medicaid expansion as part of a regular bill, not through the amendment process.

In 2018 and 2019, his first two years as governor, Gov. Ralph Northam dealt with a General Assembly in which Republicans controlled both the House of Delegates and the State Senate. He vetoed 54 bills.

In 2020, after the 2019 elections, Democrats were in control of both houses. Gov. Northam vetoed just four bills.

He blocked a proposal from the dairy industry that would have required all items labeled "milk" to come from mammals and not from almonds, soy, or other vegetable products. The other three dealt with the Affordable Care Act. After the three bills had been passed by the General Assembly with broad bipartisan support, the governor proposed amendments because he thought they might raise the cost of medical care for the poorest members of society. When the legislators rejected his amendments, Gov. Northam vetoed those three bills. 14


for all four years he was in offfice, Gov. McAuliffe was a Democratic governor with a Republican-controlled legislature
Source: Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), Gubernatorial Vetoes After Three Years


What Is Veto Power? - HISTORY

The White House

Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to veto a bill passed by Congress. When the President vetoes a bill, it is returned to the Congress. If two thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate vote to override the veto, the bill becomes law without presidential approval. If they do not, then the bill dies.


The President’s power to veto legislation provides him with extraordinary power to influence legislation. The Congress will usually compromise with the President instead of presenting him with legislation they expect him to veto. For the first 50 years of the nation, the presidents only vetoed legislation that they believed to be unconstitutional. Since that time, Presidents have used their veto power when they disagreed with policy.

The President can veto legislation in two ways. The President has ten days to sign a bill. If he does nothing, it becomes law. If he sends the bill back, it does not. When vetoing a bill, the president sends it to whichever house of Congress originated the bill with a list of his objections. Congress can then either revise the bill and resubmit it, or override the veto with a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress. If Congress passes legislation in the last ten days of a Congressional term, the President can engage in what is called a “pocket” veto. In this case, the bill does not become law unless the President actually signs it.

For a number of years, many have supported giving the President the right to issue line item vetoes. A line item veto would allow the President to veto one item in a budget bill without vetoing the complete bill. Those supporting the line item veto believe it would give the President the power to eliminate wasteful spending. In 1995, the Congress approved the line item veto for the president. It has been challenged in the courts and, in April 1997, a federal judge found the line item veto unconstutional


Which countries veto power in the UN security council?

The permanent members of United Nations Security Council have the power to veto any "substantive" resolution.

These countries are China, Russia, France, the UK and the United States.

The unconditional veto possessed by the five governments has been seen by critics as the most undemocratic character of the UN.

Some also claim the veto power is the main cause for international inaction on war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A permanent member's abstention or absence does not prevent a draft resolution from being adopted.

The United States refused to join the United Nations in 1945 unless it was given a veto.


The Veto and the UN Security Council

The veto, a power held by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (P5), has been a point of contention among many UN Member States since the establishment of the UN Charter at the San Francisco Conference of 1945. This veto power gives the P5 (France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, and China) the effective power to block any draft resolution presented to the Security Council.

The power of veto was established under Article 27 of the UN Charter, which states:
1. Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.
2. Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.
3. Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.

While the word “veto” is not specifically used, Article 27 requires the unanimity of the P5 in order for a resolution to pass, meaning any “no” vote on the part of a P5 state constitutes a veto. The power of veto was accorded to the “Big Five” in order to secure their acceptance of the UN Charter. However, during negotiations in San Francisco, some states were concerned that the power of the veto would leave the Security Council (SC) powerless to act in the event of a conflict involving one of the P5 states, and tried, unsuccessfully, to have the veto power reduced. For a basic summary of the veto debate at San Francisco, visit the UN website’s page on the San Francisco Conference, and for a more in depth background on the negotiation of the veto, see this paper titled, “The Founding of the United Nations – International Cooperation as an Evolutionary Process” published by the Academic Council on the United Nations System.

Today, discussions about the veto persists, with some characterizing it as an issue critical to the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Security Council. The most recent concerns about the veto center around the SC’s failure to act on certain crises, such as Russia’s involvement in Ukraine and most notably, the conflict in Syria. Helpful resources to illuminate the history of the use of the veto at the UN have been published by The Guardian and Security Council Report. Due to these cases of inaction, recent efforts to address the veto focus on the importance of preventing and intervening in mass atrocity situations, recalling that the primary responsibility of the SC is to maintain global peace and security.

Presently, there are two main proposals seeking to address the issue of the veto and the overall working methods of the Security Council: the France-Mexico joint political declaration and the ACT Group’s Security Council Code of Conduct. The first originated with French President François Hollande’s call at the 2013 UN General Assembly debate for all P5 states to collectively pledge to not use their veto in cases of mass atrocity, which was followed by French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius’ op-ed. This call has since manifested itself in France and Mexico’s joint political declaration for the P5 to restrain the use of the veto in instances of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

The second is the ACT Group’s proposed Security Council Code of Conduct, which is open to all Member States as current, or potential future members of the SC. The Code of Conduct is a pledge to support SC action in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and to not vote against any credible draft resolutions to prevent or end such situations. The Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein circulated a concept note formally inviting all Member States to endorse the Code in early September 2015.

Both of these proposals seek to prevent inaction on the part of the Security Council in cases of genocide, mass atrocities, and war crimes, and have received broad support from a number of Member States. This map, developed and maintained by the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, illustrates which UN Member States have signed on to each proposal. Notably, many have described the two proposals as “mutually reinforcing,” with the French-Mexican proposal applying only to the P5 and the ACT proposal applying to the entire membership. The drafters of each proposal seem to share this view, and have publicly expressed support for the other’s initiative.

Other groups have also expressed interest in addressing misuse of the veto. The Elders, in their recommendations for UN reform, include a call for P5 states to pledge not to use, or threaten to use, their veto without public explanation, and commit fully to working to find common ground.

For more information on the subject of the veto, please visit the following sites:

Key Documents
France-Mexico Political Declaration: English, French
ACT Group Code of Conduct: English, French, Spanish


What Is Veto Power? - HISTORY

The United Nations Security Council plays an extraordinary role in international relations. It is the only body in the United Nations that can decide on the use of violent means. It is tasked to do so when it is necessary to maintain international peace and security. To do this, a resolution must pass in a session with the Seurity Council’s fifteen members. Five of those members play a particular role in the Council. They are the Permanent Five – or P5 for short. Unlike the rest of the Council, their membership does not change hands every two years and they have been part of the Council since its inception[1].

There are fifteen members of the United Nations Security Council. Five of them are permanent members – The P5 – and the others are non-permanent members (here denoted by “NPM”) whose membership is limited to two years at a time. After that time, the membership of the Council is reelected.

Apart from having their seat on the Council guaranteed by the UN Charter, the P5 also play a vital role in the decision-making. This is because they have the right to block important decisions with what is called the Security Council veto. The Charter, in Article 27, states that:

“1. Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.

  1. Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.
  2. Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.”

This means that in any non-procedural matter, a decision is made if two criteria are met. First, nine of the Council’s fifteen members must vote yes. Second, none of the P5 must vote no. A P5 member can show its disapproval either by abstaining from a vote or by voting no, effectively making a decision impossible. In other words, a P5 member cannot vote no and still allow the decision to pass. There is no option for the P5 to choose the veto over a no vote they are one and the same.

To avoid the issue of blocking something acceptable, but less-than-optimal, the P5 have repeatedly resorted to abstentions. One of the permanent members may, for instance, wish that a resolution does not pass, but is unwilling to be seen as against its main points. This was likely the case when Russia and China abstained from voting as the Council decided on the controversial Resolution 1973, allowing the use of force against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya.

Where did the veto come from?

The United Nations was not the first attempt at an international organization with the mission to promote international peace and security. In the period between the World Wars, there was the League of Nations. The LoN was plagued by problems arising from both a distrustful climate in international relations and from how the organization was set up to work. Among its problems was a consensus-based voting procedure, in the forerunner to both the Security Council and the General Assembly. This meant that all members of the League had a veto.

The LoN collapsed with the onset of World War II. As the second half of the 1940’s approached, however, there was an initiative to once again try to cooperate internationally to avoid war. The end of the war meant that there was an opportunity to do just that. Wise from the experience of the League, the founders of the UN restricted the veto considerably.

Despite changing international relations, the veto power remains

The Security Council in session

The most powerful states at the time (today’s P5) were key to making the new organization work. The United States had not been member of the League of Nations, despite President Woodrow Wilson being one of the main initiators. This meant that the LoN never reached the acceptance it needed to take forceful action. If this was to be avoided, the founders of the UN had to make sure that all the major powers were onboard. Those states, however, were distrustful of each other and did not want to put important decisions of security into the hands of a possibly hostile majority in the Council.

For that reason the veto remained, but only with five member states. The rest of the membership of the UN has never been diplomatically strong enough to successfully gain the veto right. This is part of why the United Nations is much more successful than the League of Nations. It is, however, not a particularly effective system. Vetoes are used for other reasons than to protect the security or sovereignty of the P5, such as protecting lesser interests or allies.

See our report, Legitimate Concerns, for more information about how the veto is used by the permanent members.


What is veto power? According to class 10th sst history Plss do not answer from Google Answer should be short

veto power is the biggest power in terms of decision making process in world .

veto power doesn't required any type of majority to make any decision ..

the country having veto can singly change and take decision for the world.

hope it will help you my dear friend..☆☆■■

The United Nations Security Council "power of veto" refers to the veto power wielded solely by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States), enabling them to prevent the adoption of any "substantive" resolution. Abstention or absence from the vote by a permanent member does not prevent a draft resolution from being adopted. However, the veto power does not apply to "procedural" votes, as determined by the permanent members themselves. The permanent members can vote against a "procedural" draft resolution without blocking its adoption by the Council. A negative vote by a permanent member will also block the selection of a Secretary-General, although this is a "recommendation" to the General Assembly rather than a Resolution.


What Is Veto Power? - HISTORY

The refusal of an executive officer to assent to a bill that has been created and approved by the legislature, thereby depriving the bill of any legally binding effect.

Article I, Section 7, of the U.S. Constitution states that "every bill" and "every order, resolution or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and the House of Representatives may be necessary" must be presented to the president for approval. If the president disapproves of the legislation and declines to sign the bill, he issues a veto, returning the bill unsigned to Congress. Similar provisions in state constitutions give governors the same veto power, and municipal charters often give the mayor the right to veto legislation from the city council.

The veto power gives the executive a central role in the legislative process. By threatening a veto before legislation is passed, the executive can force the legislature to compromise and pass amendments it would otherwise find unacceptable. Though there is great power in the veto, most executives use it cautiously, as overuse can antagonize the legislature and create political risk for the executive.

Under the Constitution the president has ten days (not counting Sundays) in which to consider legislation presented for approval. The president has three options: sign the bill, making it law veto the bill or take no action on the bill during the ten-day period. A veto can be over-ridden by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress. If the president takes no action, the bill automatically becomes law after ten days. If Congress adjourns before the ten days have expired and the president has not signed the bill, however, the bill is said to have been subjected to a pocket veto. A pocket veto deprives Congress of the chance to override a formal veto. State governors have similar veto and pocket veto powers, and state legislatures usually are required to override vetoes by a two-thirds majority of both houses.

In the majority of states the governor also has the authority to select particular items from an appropriations bill and veto them individually. This authority, called the line-item veto, is popular because it allows the executive to cancel specific appropriations items from bills that are hundreds of pages long. The legislature can override the veto by a two-thirds majority vote.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Presidents ronald reagan and george h.w. bush called for a constitutional amendment that would provide the president with a line-item veto. After years of debate, Congress rejected the idea of enacting such an amendment and instead approved federal line-item veto authority in a 1996 statute known as the Line-Item Veto Act (2 U.S.C.A. §§ 691�). The act gave the president the ability to cancel individual tax and spending measures included in federal legislation.

Members of Congress opposed to the act immediately filed a federal lawsuit, arguing that the act was unconstitutional. In Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811, 117 S.Ct. 2312, 138 L.Ed.2d 849 (1997), the Supreme Court concluded that the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the action and dismissed the case. A key point in the ruling was that a plaintiff had to show an actual injury because of the law. The senators and representatives had argued that the constitutional Separation of powers had been violated by the act but the Court found this was not an actual injury. Therefore, the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction.

Two groups of plaintiffs then filed suit, arguing that they had been injured. One group included the City of New York, two hospital associations, one hospital, and two unions that represented health care employees. They challenged a line-item veto President bill clinton had made in the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. The other group was the Snake River Potato Growers, Inc., which consisted of approximately 30 potato growers located throughout Idaho. The collective opposed President Clinton's cancellation of a provision of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. Both groups of plaintiffs argued that the line-item vetoes had deprived them of federal funds. The U.S. district court found that the parties had standing and that the act violated the Presentment Clause under Article I of the Constitution. The Supreme Court eventually resolved the matter in Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417, 118 S. Ct. 2091, 141 L. Ed. 2d 393 (1998).

The Court, in a 6𠄳 vote, agreed that the Line-Item Veto Act, which empowered the president to cancel individual portions of bills, violated the Presentment Clause. Under the Presentment Clause, after a bill has passed both Houses, but "before it become[s] a Law," it must either be approved (signed) or returned (vetoed) by the president. By canceling only parts of the legislation, President Clinton had, in effect, amended the laws. The Court concluded that there was no constitutional authorization for the president to amend legislation at his discretion.

A widely used means of congressional over-sight has been the legislative veto. A legislative veto is a statutory device that subjects proposals and decisions of Executive Branch administrative agencies to additional legislative consideration. The legislature may disapprove agency action by a committee, one-house, or concurrent resolution.

Since it was first used in the 1930s, the legislative veto has been the subject of controversy. The legislative veto circumvents traditional bill-passing procedures in that the legislative action is not presented to the executive for approval. This veto has been defended on the ground that it is not a legislative act. In Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 103 S. Ct. 2764, 77 L. Ed. 2d 317 (1983), the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated legislative veto provisions involving immigration and naturalization on the ground that these provisions violated the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. Despite Chadha, Congress has not systematically removed legislative veto provisions from federal statutes, and some states continue to use the legislative veto.

Further readings

Cameron, Charles M. 2000. Veto Bargaining: Presidents and the Politics of Negative Power. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

Lipson, G. V., ed. 2002. Presidential Vetoes: Challenges and Bibliography. Hauppauge, N.Y.: Novinka.

Mason, Edward Campbell. 1967. The Veto Power: Its Origin, Development, and Function in the Government of the United States, 1789�. New York: Russell & Russell.

Cross-references

VETO, legislation. This is a Latin word signifying, I forbid.
2. It is usually applied to the power of the president of the United States to negative a bill which has passed both branches of the legislature. The act of refusing to sign such a bill, and the message which is sent to congress assigning the reasons for a refusal to sign it, are each called a veto.
3. When a bill is engrossed, and has received the sanction of both houses, it is transmitted to the president for his approbation. If he approves of it, he signs it. If he does not, he sends it, with his objections, to the house in which it originated, and that house enter the objections on their journals, and proceed to reconsider the bill. Coast. U. S. art. I, s. 7, cl. 2. Vide Story on the Const. Sec. 878 1 Kent, Com. 239.
4. The governors of the several states have generally a negative on the acts of the legislature. When exercised with due caution, the veto power is some additional security against inconsiderate and hasty legislation, or where bills have passed through prejudice or want of due reflection. It was, however, mainly intended as a weapon in the hands of the chief magistrate to defend the executive department from encroachment and usurpation, as well as a just balance of the constitution.
5. The veto power of the British sovereign has not been exercised for more than a century. It was exercised once during the, reign of Queen Anne. Edinburgh Rev. 10th vol. 411, &c. Parke's Lectures, 126. But anciently the king frequently replied Le roy s'avisera, which was in effect withholding his assent. In France the king had the initiative of all laws, but not the veto. See 1 Toull. art. 39 and see Nos. 42, 52, note 3.


The Veto and the UN Security Council

The veto, a power held by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (P5), has been a point of contention among many UN Member States since the establishment of the UN Charter at the San Francisco Conference of 1945. This veto power gives the P5 (France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, and China) the effective power to block any draft resolution presented to the Security Council.

The power of veto was established under Article 27 of the UN Charter, which states:
1. Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.
2. Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.
3. Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.

While the word “veto” is not specifically used, Article 27 requires the unanimity of the P5 in order for a resolution to pass, meaning any “no” vote on the part of a P5 state constitutes a veto. The power of veto was accorded to the “Big Five” in order to secure their acceptance of the UN Charter. However, during negotiations in San Francisco, some states were concerned that the power of the veto would leave the Security Council (SC) powerless to act in the event of a conflict involving one of the P5 states, and tried, unsuccessfully, to have the veto power reduced. For a basic summary of the veto debate at San Francisco, visit the UN website’s page on the San Francisco Conference, and for a more in depth background on the negotiation of the veto, see this paper titled, “The Founding of the United Nations – International Cooperation as an Evolutionary Process” published by the Academic Council on the United Nations System.

Today, discussions about the veto persists, with some characterizing it as an issue critical to the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Security Council. The most recent concerns about the veto center around the SC’s failure to act on certain crises, such as Russia’s involvement in Ukraine and most notably, the conflict in Syria. Helpful resources to illuminate the history of the use of the veto at the UN have been published by The Guardian and Security Council Report. Due to these cases of inaction, recent efforts to address the veto focus on the importance of preventing and intervening in mass atrocity situations, recalling that the primary responsibility of the SC is to maintain global peace and security.

Presently, there are two main proposals seeking to address the issue of the veto and the overall working methods of the Security Council: the France-Mexico joint political declaration and the ACT Group’s Security Council Code of Conduct. The first originated with French President François Hollande’s call at the 2013 UN General Assembly debate for all P5 states to collectively pledge to not use their veto in cases of mass atrocity, which was followed by French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius’ op-ed. This call has since manifested itself in France and Mexico’s joint political declaration for the P5 to restrain the use of the veto in instances of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

The second is the ACT Group’s proposed Security Council Code of Conduct, which is open to all Member States as current, or potential future members of the SC. The Code of Conduct is a pledge to support SC action in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and to not vote against any credible draft resolutions to prevent or end such situations. The Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein circulated a concept note formally inviting all Member States to endorse the Code in early September 2015.

Both of these proposals seek to prevent inaction on the part of the Security Council in cases of genocide, mass atrocities, and war crimes, and have received broad support from a number of Member States. This map, developed and maintained by the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, illustrates which UN Member States have signed on to each proposal. Notably, many have described the two proposals as “mutually reinforcing,” with the French-Mexican proposal applying only to the P5 and the ACT proposal applying to the entire membership. The drafters of each proposal seem to share this view, and have publicly expressed support for the other’s initiative.

Other groups have also expressed interest in addressing misuse of the veto. The Elders, in their recommendations for UN reform, include a call for P5 states to pledge not to use, or threaten to use, their veto without public explanation, and commit fully to working to find common ground.

For more information on the subject of the veto, please visit the following sites:

Key Documents
France-Mexico Political Declaration: English, French
ACT Group Code of Conduct: English, French, Spanish


UN Security Council: Why is the veto right so important?

The veto right, or the UN Charter’s requirement for the SC Permanent Members’ unanimity, remains the cornerstone of the UN system, which was created to guard peace and security after the Second World War.

It would be easy to destroy it, but there is no workable alternative at the moment. This is not a privilege, but a reflection of the high responsibility of the P5 for maintaining peace and security, which reflects both the historic contribution that the Permanent Members made to establishing the UN and their continued practical role in the world. At the same time it reflects the wisdom of the founding fathers of the UN who foresaw a multi-centric world order, which is a reality now.

In our view, the veto remains an important factor that keeps the SC members together and motivates them to seek balanced decisions. It would be incorrect, both history-wise and politically, to encroach on this right, which was established to help escape one-sided decisions, fraught with ruining the UN, to impose a culture of consensus, at least, upon major world powers.

The present crisis in Ukraine provides more proof of the inherent dangers of unilateralism as opposed to collective action. It is historically proven that the veto right helps search for compromises. By creating this right, those who drafted the UN Charter showed understanding that if there is no agreement between the P5, problems can’t be resolved collectively and efficiently, and thus, can’t be resolved at all. The voiced criticism of “misuse” of the veto right is beside the point. When the UN was set up, the sad experience of the League of Nations with its “one country – one vote” system was taken into account.

True, the need to find common ground among the P5 sometimes complicates the work. But this doesn’t mean that the system is ineffective. To the contrary, the UNSC remains one of the most efficient and harmonious structures. The occasions when veto is used are far outnumbered by resolutions adopted unanimously. After all, diplomacy – and the UN is its supreme tool – is about compromise.

Russia’s position of principle has always been that we will support a UNSC reform which would enjoy the widest possible support of UN member states, i.e. by a much larger majority than the legally required two-thirds. However, the level of progress so far does not allow to say that we have come closer to a universal formula of the SC reform. The approaches of various countries still differ substantially. Under these circumstances, there is no alternative to the continuation of the patient work of bridging the gap.

The reform of the UNSC is a crucial issue on the current international agenda. Its progress will determine the effectiveness of the work of the whole UN system for the foreseeable future. We strongly believe that the efforts in this area should be aimed, first of all, at enhancing the Council’s ability to promptly and effectively react to emerging challenges. This becomes even more relevant today as we witness multiple crises and conflict situations.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


Watch the video: Russia vetoes UN Security Council resolution on Crimea