Congressmen don't have to read bills, so what makes you think the president has to sign them?

Politico takes on the Obama administration's insistence that the president need not actually sign bills in order to make them law:

The Constitution, unsurprisingly, makes no mention of autopens or robo-signing. It says that a bill “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.” However, Obama aides point to a 2005 opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that concluded that, despite the Constitution’s requirements, a bill need not be physically presented to the president or actually signed by him to become law.

The Justice Department opinion takes 29 pages to conclude that “sign” doesn’t mean literally sign and “presented” doesn’t mean literally presented. It also relies on (horrors!) foreign law from 1614 to conclude that these terms are more flexible than they might appear. (A portion of the opinion is still secret.)

Beltway ConfidentialUS

Just Posted

The music director Eun Sun Kim at the San Francisco Opera, Oct. 7, 2021. Kim is the first woman to serve as music director of one of America’s largest opera companies. She aims to broaden the art form’s appeal in the digital age. (Kelsey McClellan/The New York Times)
San Francisco Opera’s music director is making history. Can She Help Ensure Its Future?

Eun Sun Kim is the first woman to hold the position at a major company

Badly needed rain cooled off pedestrians on Market Street in The City on Wednesday. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Storm door opens in San Francisco — what will the rains bring?

‘Come Monday, fire season in Northern California should be done’

The so-called “twindemic” that public health officials in California and elsewhere warned about last year — the combined threat of influenza and COVID-19 — was largely eased by the wide use of face masks, physical distancing and reduced travel, experts say. But their concerns are back this year. (Shutterstock)
COVID and the flu: Is a ‘twindemic’ threat lurking again?

‘Because of so little disease last year, population immunity is likely lower’

49ers' quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hopes to return to the field this weekend to lead San Francisco against the Colts. (Photo courtesy of 49ers)
NFL Week 7 picks: Niners face crucial matchup against the Colts

San Francisco could join Seattle on the brink of irrelevancy in the NFC West with another loss

Newly appointed City Attorney David Chiu will play a key role in an upcoming legal battle between gig economy companies and The City. (Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock)
City Attorney David Chiu faces immediate test in major gig economy lawsuit

DoorDash and Grubhub are suing San Francisco over price controls

Most Read