April 06, 2006

Bush's New Line-Item Veto Proposal: Is It Constitutional?

I know the line-item veto is generally more of an economic issue rather than a legal issue, but former Senate candidate and now President of the Club for Growth, Pat Toomey has recently written an op-ed that mixes the two a bit and I thought this might be an interesting topic to discuss here on the CFJ blog.

As you may recall, in 1998 the Supreme Court shot down a bill passed by a Republican Congress giving Bill Clinton the authority to cancel individual parts of legislation he felt were merely pork. The law was similar to line-item veto legislation that had already been passed in a vast majority of states throughout the country giving governors the ability to trim down state budgets.

Now President Bush has a new proposal that would allow him to suggest the rescission of certain projects. Congress would then respond with a “timely up-or-down vote on his suggestions.”

If it passes will SCOTUS reject this new proposal as well? In Clinton v. City of New York dissenting made strange bedfellows out of Justices Breyer, O’Connor and Scalia. After nearly a decade and two new justices, does President Bush’s proposal stand a better chance?