Presidential Vetoes

Presidential Vetoes in the United States

Vetoes by President

Note: the Veto success rate only includes regular vetoes. “Pocket Vetoes” can only occur after a session of Congress has adjourned and can not be overridden by Congress.

George Washington

  • Totals under his Presidency: 2 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 1st Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 2nd Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 3rd Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 4th Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%

John Adams

  • Totals under his Presidency: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 5th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 6th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a

Thomas Jefferson

  • Totals under his Presidency: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 7th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 8th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 9th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 10th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a

James Madison

  • Totals under his Presidency: 5 (Regular Vetoes) 2 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 11th Congress: 2 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 12th Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 13th Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 14th Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%

James Monroe

  • Totals under his Presidency: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 15th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 16th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 17th Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 18th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a

John Quincy Adams

  • Totals under his Presidency: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 19th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 20th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a

Andrew Jackson

  • Totals under his Presidency: 5 (Regular Vetoes) 7 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 21st Congress: 2 (Regular Vetoes) 2 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 22nd Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 3 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 23rd Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 24th Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%

Martin van Buren

  • Totals under his Presidency: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 25th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 26th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a

William Henry Harrison

  • 27th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a

John Tyler

  • Totals under his Presidency: 6 (Regular Vetoes) 4 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 83.30%
  • 27th Congress: 4 (Regular Vetoes) 3 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 28th Congress: 2 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 66.70%

James K. Polk

  • Totals under his Presidency: 2 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 29th Congress: 2 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 30th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a

Zachary Taylor

  • 31st Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • Millard Fillmore
  • Totals under his Presidency: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 31st Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 32nd Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a

Franklin Pierce

  • Totals under his Presidency: 9 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 5 (Overrides); Success Rate: 44.40%
  • 33rd Congress: 4 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 34th Congress: 5 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 5 (Overrides); Success Rate: 0%

James Buchanan

  • Totals under his Presidency: 4 (Regular Vetoes) 3 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 35th Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 3 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 36th Congress: 3 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%

Abraham Lincoln

  • Totals under his Presidency: 2 (Regular Vetoes) 5 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 37th Congress: 2 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 38th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 4 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 39th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a

Andrew Johnson

  • Totals under his Presidency: 21 (Regular Vetoes) 8 (Pocket Vetoes) 15 (Overrides); Success Rate: 26.80%
  • 39th Congress: 11 (Regular Vetoes) 2 (Pocket Vetoes) 6 (Overrides); Success Rate: 45.50%
  • 40th Congress: 10 (Regular Vetoes) 6 (Pocket Vetoes) 9 (Overrides); Success Rate: 10.00%

Ulysses S. Grant

  • Totals under his Presidency: 45 (Regular Vetoes) 48 (Pocket Vetoes) 4 (Overrides); Success Rate: 91.10%
  • 41st Congress: 5 (Regular Vetoes) 11 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 42nd Congress: 13 (Regular Vetoes) 19 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 92.30%
  • 43rd Congress: 5 (Regular Vetoes) 11 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 44th Congress: 22 (Regular Vetoes) 7 (Pocket Vetoes) 3 (Overrides); Success Rate: 86.40%

Rutherford B. Hayes

  • Totals under his Presidency: 12 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 91.70%
  • 45th Congress: 3 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 66.70%
  • 46th Congress: 9 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a

James Garfield

  • 47th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a

Chester Arthur

  • Totals under his Presidency: 4 (Regular Vetoes) 8 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 75.00%
  • 47th Congress: 3 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 66.70%
  • 48th Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 8 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%

Grover Cleveland – I

  • Totals under his Presidency: 304 (Regular Vetoes) 110 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 99.30%
  • 49th Congress: 145 (Regular Vetoes) 57 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 98.60%
  • 50th Congress: 159 (Regular Vetoes) 53 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%

Benjamin Harrison

  • Totals under his Presidency: 19 (Regular Vetoes) 25 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 94.70%
  • 51st Congress: 15 (Regular Vetoes) 21 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 52nd Congress: 4 (Regular Vetoes) 4 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 75.00%

Grover Cleveland – II

  • Totals under his Presidency: 42 (Regular Vetoes) 128 (Pocket Vetoes) 5 (Overrides); Success Rate: 88.10%
  • 53rd Congress: 18 (Regular Vetoes) 63 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 54th Congress: 24 (Regular Vetoes) 65 (Pocket Vetoes) 5 (Overrides); Success Rate: 79.20%

William McKinley

  • Totals under his Presidency: 6 (Regular Vetoes) 36 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 55th Congress: 2 (Regular Vetoes) 5 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 56th Congress: 4 (Regular Vetoes) 31 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%

Theodore Roosevelt

  • Totals under his Presidency: 42 (Regular Vetoes) 40 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 97.60%
  • 57th Congress: 15 (Regular Vetoes) 6 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 58th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 2 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 59th Congress: 15 (Regular Vetoes) 15 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 60th Congress: 12 (Regular Vetoes) 17 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 91.70%

William Howard Taft

  • Totals under his Presidency: 30 (Regular Vetoes) 9 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 96.70%
  • 61st Congress: 8 (Regular Vetoes) 5 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 62nd Congress: 22 (Regular Vetoes) 4 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 95.50%

Woodrow Wilson

  • Totals under his Presidency: 33 (Regular Vetoes) 11 (Pocket Vetoes) 6 (Overrides); Success Rate: 81.80%
  • 63rd Congress: 4 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 64th Congress: 4 (Regular Vetoes) 2 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 75.00%
  • 65th Congress: 5 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 66th Congress: 20 (Regular Vetoes) 8 (Pocket Vetoes) 5 (Overrides); Success Rate: 75.00%

Warren G. Harding

  • 67th Congress: 5 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%

Calvin Coolidge

  • Totals under his Presidency: 20 (Regular Vetoes) 30 (Pocket Vetoes) 4 (Overrides); Success Rate: 80.00%
  • 68th Congress: 3 (Regular Vetoes) 4 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 66.70%
  • 69th Congress: 4 (Regular Vetoes) 7 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 70th Congress: 13 (Regular Vetoes) 19 (Pocket Vetoes) 3 (Overrides); Success Rate: 76.90%

Herbert Hoover

  • Totals under his Presidency: 21 (Regular Vetoes) 16 (Pocket Vetoes) 3 (Overrides); Success Rate: 85.70%
  • 71st Congress: 11 (Regular Vetoes) 8 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 81.80%
  • 72nd Congress: 10 (Regular Vetoes) 8 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 90.00%

Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • Totals under his Presidency: 372 (Regular Vetoes) 263 (Pocket Vetoes) 9 (Overrides); Success Rate: 97.60%
  • 73rd Congress: 19 (Regular Vetoes) 54 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 94.70%
  • 74th Congress: 84 (Regular Vetoes) 64 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 98.80%
  • 75th Congress: 33 (Regular Vetoes) 84 (Pocket Vetoes) 3 (Overrides); Success Rate: 90.90%
  • 76th Congress: 126 (Regular Vetoes) 41 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 98.40%
  • 77th Congress: 79 (Regular Vetoes) 3 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 78th Congress: 29 (Regular Vetoes) 17 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 93.10%
  • 79th Congress: 2 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%

Harry S. Truman

  • Totals under his Presidency: 180 (Regular Vetoes) 70 (Pocket Vetoes) 12 (Overrides); Success Rate: 93.30%
  • 79th Congress: 54 (Regular Vetoes) 20 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 80th Congress: 42 (Regular Vetoes) 33 (Pocket Vetoes) 6 (Overrides); Success Rate: 85.70%
  • 81st Congress: 70 (Regular Vetoes) 9 (Pocket Vetoes) 3 (Overrides); Success Rate: 95.70%
  • 82nd Congress: 14 (Regular Vetoes) 8 (Pocket Vetoes) 3 (Overrides); Success Rate: 78.60%

Dwight D. Eisenhower

  • Totals under his Presidency: 73 (Regular Vetoes) 108 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 97.30%
  • 83rd Congress: 21 (Regular Vetoes) 31 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 84th Congress: 12 (Regular Vetoes) 22 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 85th Congress: 18 (Regular Vetoes) 22 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 86th Congress: 22 (Regular Vetoes) 22 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 90.90%

John F. Kennedy

  • Totals under his Presidency: 12 (Regular Vetoes) 9 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 87th Congress: 11 (Regular Vetoes) 9 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 88th Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%

Lyndon B. Johnson

  • Totals under his Presidency: 16 (Regular Vetoes) 14 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 88th Congress: 4 (Regular Vetoes) 4 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 89th Congress: 10 (Regular Vetoes) 4 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 90th Congress: 2 (Regular Vetoes) 6 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%

Richard Nixon

  • Totals under his Presidency: 26 (Regular Vetoes) 17 (Pocket Vetoes) 7 (Overrides); Success Rate: 73.10%
  • 91st Congress: 8 (Regular Vetoes) 3 (Pocket Vetoes) 3 (Overrides); Success Rate: 62.50%
  • 92nd Congress: 6 (Regular Vetoes) 14 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 66.70%
  • 93rd Congress: 12 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 83.30%

Gerald R. Ford

  • Totals under his Presidency: 48 (Regular Vetoes) 18 (Pocket Vetoes) 12 (Overrides); Success Rate: 75.00%
  • 93rd Congress: 16 (Regular Vetoes) 11 (Pocket Vetoes) 4 (Overrides); Success Rate: 75.00%
  • 94th Congress: 32 (Regular Vetoes) 7 (Pocket Vetoes) 8 (Overrides); Success Rate: 75.00%

Jimmy Carter

  • Totals under his Presidency: 13 (Regular Vetoes) 18 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 84.60%
  • 95th Congress: 6 (Regular Vetoes) 13 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 96th Congress: 7 (Regular Vetoes) 5 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 71.40%

Ronald Reagan

  • Totals under his Presidency: 39 (Regular Vetoes) 39 (Pocket Vetoes) 9 (Overrides); Success Rate: 76.90%
  • 97th Congress: 9 (Regular Vetoes) 6 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 77.80%
  • 98th Congress: 9 (Regular Vetoes) 15 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 77.80%
  • 99th Congress: 13 (Regular Vetoes) 7 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 84.60%
  • 100th Congress: 8 (Regular Vetoes) 11 (Pocket Vetoes) 3 (Overrides); Success Rate: 62.50%

George Bush

  • Totals under his Presidency: 29 (Regular Vetoes) 15 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 96.60%
  • 101st Congress: 15 (Regular Vetoes) 4 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 102nd Congress: 14 (Regular Vetoes) 11 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 92.90%

William J. Clinton

  • Totals under his Presidency: 36 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 2 (Overrides); Success Rate: 94.40%
  • 103rd Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 104th Congress: 17 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 94.10%
  • 105th Congress: 8 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 87.50%
  • 106th Congress: 11 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%

George W. Bush

  • Totals under his Presidency: 11 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 4 (Overrides); Success Rate: 63.60%
  • 107th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 108th Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 109th Congress: 1 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 110th Congress: 10 (Regular Vetoes) 1 (Pocket Vetoes) 4 (Overrides); Success Rate: 60.00%

Barack Obama

  • Totals under his Presidency: 12 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 91.70%
  • 111th3 Congress: 2 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: 100%
  • 112th3 Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 113th4 Congress: 0 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 0 (Overrides); Success Rate: n/a
  • 114th4 Congress: 10 (Regular Vetoes) 0 (Pocket Vetoes) 1 (Overrides); Success Rate: 90%

Veto Power

Comnpiled by the Senate Library, Government Printing Office (1992):

Constitutional Provision

The veto power is established by the Constitution of the United States of America: “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. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.” (Article I, Section 7, clauses 2 and 3).

Exercise of the Veto Power

The term “regular veto” is used to indicate the action of the President when he disapproves a bill or joint resolution and returns it with his objec- tions to the chamber in which it originated. A “pocket veto” is the designation applied to a bill or joint resolution that failed to become law at the expiration of ten days because the President withheld his signature and the Congress had adjourned during that period in a manner to prevent its return.

The exercise of the President’s pocket veto authority during intra-session adjournments and recess periods has long been a controversial issue between the legislative and executive branches of government. In the Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 655 (1929) (Item No. 1039, the Supreme Court held that the President might utilize the pocket veto power during either intra-session adjournments of the House and Senate during the same Congress or adjournments between sessions. However, in Wright v. US., 302 U.S. 583 (1938) (Item No. 12751, the Court modified this ruling in deciding that a recess within the same Congress by one House, with the other House remaining in session, would not “prevent” the President from returning a vetued bill if prior arrangements for the receipt of the measure had been made with the House that went out of session. In Kennedy v. Sampson, 364 FSupp. 1075 (D.D.C. 1973) (Item No. 22621, the US. District Court interpreted the pocket veto clause of the Constitution as having two purposes: to provide the President with adequate time to review a bill presented to him and, second, to give Congress sufficient opportunity to review the Chief Executive’s objections and to override them if so desired.

The court further held that intra-session adjournments within the same Congress do not prevent the return of a disap- proved bill to Congress, providing, as in the Wright decision, that appropriate provision has been made for receipt of the vetoed legislation. The Court of Appeals in 1974 unanimously affirmed that decision (511 F.2d 430 (1974)). In 1987 the cme of Burke v. Barnes, 479 U.S. 361 (1987) (Item No. 24141, the Supreme Court declared the issue moot because the legis- lation in question had no effect after September 30, 1984. A 1981 pocket veto (Item No. 2394) is still pending before United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Further Reading

  • Journal of the House of Representatives and the Journal of the Senate, Congressional Record, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents
  • “Veto Messages of the Presidents of the United States” (Senate Miscellaneous Document No. 53, 49th Congress, 2d session)
  • “Report on Pocket Veto” (House Document No. 493, 70th Congress).
  • Charles J. Zinn’s “The Veto Power of the President.” (Government Printing Office,1951), US. Congress, House, Committee on the Judiciary
  • Edward C. Mason’s “The Veto Power,: Its Origin, Development and Function in the Government of the United States, 1789-1889” Harvard Historical Monographs, No. 1 (Boston: Ginn & Co., 1890.)
  • Congressional Quarterly’s Guide to Congress. Congressional Quarterly, 3d ed. (Washington, D.C.) Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1982.

Presidential Vetoes: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Presidential Vetoes. This part provides references, in relation to Presidential Vetoes, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Presidential Vetoes by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Presidential Vetoes and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Presidential Vetoes or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Presidential Vetoes and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Presidential Vetoes. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Presidential Vetoes should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Presidential Vetoes when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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