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View Full Version : The Health Vote and the Constitution...



marv
03-20-2010, 12:48 PM
From The WSJ (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703580904575131460390057440.html?m od=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsTop).....

This approach appears unconstitutional. Article I, Section 7 clearly states that bills cannot be presented to the president for signature unless they have been approved by both houses of Congress in the same form. If the House approves the Senate bill in the same legislation by which it approves changes to the Senate bill, it will fail that requirement.

Defenders of the Democratic strategy say that a self-executing rule has been used many times before by both parties. But never in this way. Most of the time a self-executing rule is used to incorporate amendments into a pending bill without actual votes on the amendments, where the bill is then subject to a final vote by the House and Senate. That usage may be a dodge around House rules, but it does not violate the Constitution.

One thing is sure: To proceed in this way creates an unnecessary risk that the legislation will be invalidated for violation of Article I, Section 7. Will wavering House members want to use this procedure when there is a nontrivial probability that the courts will render their political sacrifice wasted effort? To hazard that risk, the House leadership must have a powerful motive to avoid a straightforward vote.

The author, Mr. McConnell, was a former federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, is a law professor at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center.