October 11, 2019 | Separation of Powers
The Looming Constitutional Crisis
Beyond the politics and partisanship of the moment, President Donald Trump and majority Democrats in the House of Representatives are colliding in the most extraordinary test of the Constitution's separation of powers in many years.
"We are heading rapidly towards a constitutional crisis," David Rothkopf, a political scientist and specialist in international relations, told MSNBC. This is because Trump doesn't accept the legitimacy of Congress's bid to impeach him as sought by House Democrats, and the House under those Democrats won't back away from efforts to punish him for what critics call abuses of power...
October 8, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Christians urge California governor to veto bill for abortion pill access at colleges
LOS ANGELES (RNS) — Christian organizations are urging California Gov. Gavin Newsom to veto a bill that would require the state’s public universities to offer abortion medication through campus health clinics.
If signed into law, the “College Student Right to Access Act,” or SB 24, would take effect in January 2023. Newsom has until Sunday (Oct. 13) to make a decision.
Commonly known as “the abortion pill,” the prescription medication provides a nonsurgical process to end early pregnancy, for women who are less than 10 weeks along, by blocking hormones needed to sustain the pregnancy. While groups like the California Family Council claim the medication can be dangerous, scientific research has found it is safe and effective.
October 2, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Trump lashes out at Democrats over impeachment probe — live updates
Washington -- President Trump angrily lashed out at Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry and the whistleblower whose complaint prompted it, accusing a House chairman of treason and saying the anonymous individual's identity should be disclosed...
September 25, 2019 | Separation of Powers
With little to lose, Orange County Democrats throw support behind Trump impeachment
To understand how rapidly the political calculations over impeachment within the Democratic Party have changed, look to Orange County’s congressional delegation.
For months, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was resistant to launching an impeachment inquiry of President Trump, in part out of concern for dozens of members who flipped conservative-leaning districts last year, including seven in California...
September 15, 2019 | Separation of Powers
New Hampshire’s GOP Governor Goes on Veto Streak
New Hampshire’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu, is squaring off against the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature by flexing his power to just say no.
The governor has vetoed 55 bills this year, by far the most in modern state history. It took three governors seven years to produce that many vetoes in the Granite State before the recent binge...
September 11, 2019 | Separation of Powers
NC House Republicans override Gov. Cooper’s budget veto while he’s at 9/11 memorial event
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina House Republicans called a surprise vote and overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto on Wednesday morning, Cooper said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
The vote was taken while Cooper was at a 9/11 memorial event.
According to a tweet by State Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg), almost half of the House members were absent when the vote was taken, which resulted in a 55-9 tally...
August 29, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Wash. Legislature to sue Gov. Inslee over line-item veto
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington state Legislature plans to sue Gov. Jay Inslee, saying he overstepped his authority for a series of one-sentence vetoes in this year's transportation budget.
Lawmakers said Thursday the governor violated the constitutional ban against vetoing less than a full section of legislation...
August 29, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Senate Republicans tell Supreme Court not to be ‘cowed’ by Democratic senators
All 53 Republicans in the Senate urged the Supreme Court on Thursday not to be “cowed” by a brief from a handful of Democratic senators that warned that the court risks its impartial reputation if it continues to hear a gun case that the Democrats consider moot.
In a letter to the court’s clerk, the Republicans said the brief filed by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and four other Democrats “openly threatened this court with political retribution if it failed to dismiss the petition as moot.”...
August 22, 2019 | Separation of Powers
North Carolina’s Dem governor vetoes bill requiring police cooperation with ICE on illegal immigrants
In vetoing a bill calling for better state and local cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is favoring the interests of illegal immigrants over basic public safety, the state's Republicans argued Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Cooper, a Democrat, nixed a proposal that would have made it mandatory for state and local law enforcement to comply with detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)...
August 11, 2019 | Separation of Powers
GOP governor vetoes New Hampshire bill to create independent redistricting commission
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) vetoed bipartisan legislation that would have created an independent commission to draw the state's legislative, congressional and Executive Council district maps following the 2020 elections.
In his veto, Sununu asserted that issues related to partisan gerrymandering were "extremely rare" in New Hampshire and that an independent commission would run counter to the ideas stated in the state's constitution...
July 31, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Conservatives ask state Supreme Court to block Gov. Tony Evers’ budget vetoes
MADISON - Conservatives asked Wisconsin's high court Wednesday to overturn at least one of its precedents and undo budget vetoes Gov. Tony Evers issued four weeks ago.
The lawsuit was brought by three taxpayers with the help of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. It argues the Democratic governor exceeded his authority by doing what his predecessors from both parties have done — carving up a state budget to enact new policies...
July 23, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Seattle council approves soda tax restrictions in face of veto threat
The Seattle City Council voted Monday to approve restrictions on sweetened beverage tax revenue to original food access programs.
Mayor Jenny Durkan has already threatened to veto that plan, but may find that difficult, with Monday’s measure passing by a veto-proof 7-1 margin. Regardless, she still intends on moving forward...
July 10, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Wisconsin GOP Proposes Constitutional Amendment Limiting Veto Power
Wisconsin Republicans are proposing a constitutional amendment that would prevent the governor from using his or her partial veto powers to increase spending in any bills.Sen. Dave Craig and Rep. Mike Kuglitsch began circulating the amendment for co-sponsors Monday. The move comes after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers used his partial veto powers last week to increase funding for K-12 schools by $65 million...
June 25, 2019 | Separation of Powers
The White House Threatens to Veto an Aid Bill for Migrant Families Detained After Crossing the Border
(WASHINGTON) — The White House is threatening to veto a $4.5 billion House bill aimed at improving the treatment of migrant families detained after crossing the U.S. southern border, saying the measure would hamstring the administration’s border security efforts and raising fresh questions about the legislation’s fate...
June 20, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Supreme Court Upholds Sex-Offender Law in Separation-of-Powers Case
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a 2006 law designed to crack down on sex offenders, which allowed the U.S. attorney general to decide whether it applies retroactively.By a 5-3 vote, the court found that Congress’s delegation of the retroactivity decision didn’t violate the Constitution...
June 12, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Explainer: Can Trump use executive privilege to block congressional probes?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Like numerous U.S. presidents before him, Donald Trump has invoked the legal doctrine known as executive privilege to try to block congressional investigators from getting access to certain documents and witnesses they are seeking...
June 4, 2019 | Separation of Powers
House Approves Immigration Bill, Despite White House Veto Threat
WASHINGTON — Democrats shunned a White House veto threat and muscled legislation through the House Tuesday that would bestow a chance for citizenship on an estimated 2 million-plus migrants, a bill that stands virtually no chance of enactment but lets them showcase their efforts on one of their highest-profile priorities...
May 23, 2019 | Separation of Powers
House votes to override governor’s veto of death penalty repeal
CONCORD, N.H. —New Hampshire is one step closer to getting rid of the death penalty after the House overrode the governor's veto of a repeal bill by the narrowest possible margin.Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed the repeal bill in May after it passed the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities. The House voted to override the veto Thursday by a vote of 247-123, reaching the two-thirds majority needed by a single vote.
May 15, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Rep. Jerry Nadler: We’re ‘probably’ not headed for impeachment, but Trump is making it ‘increasingly difficult’ to avoid
After a quarter-century in Congress, Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York stands on the brink of an outsize role in American political life.As Judiciary Committee chairman in the Democratic-controlled House, Nadler leads his party’s efforts to exercise oversight of President Donald Trump and his administration. If Democrats pursue the fourth serious presidential impeachment effort in American history, Nadler would wield the gavel when it starts...
May 7, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Warren: Time To Begin Impeachment Proceedings Against President Trump, “This Is Not About Politics”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took to the Senate floor Tuesday to call for impeachment proceedings now against President Trump...
April 16, 2019 | Separation of Powers
House Vote on Abortion-Related Bill Could Mean Veto Showdown
RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina Republican lawmakers could soon reach their first legislative showdown with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper since his party increased House and Senate seat totals during the last elections.The House scheduled a floor vote Tuesday on a Senate measure that would direct how doctors and nurses must treat an infant born alive during an attempted abortion. Those who fail to provide the same degree of care as any other newborn could face a felony with active prison time and monetary penalties. The Senate already voted Monday for the bill...
April 10, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Bevin draws mixed reaction to veto of pension bill
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- For the second time in months, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin intends to reconvene lawmakers for a special session to confront pension woes. The action comes after he vetoed a bill aimed at giving relief to some state-funded agencies struggling with retirement payments.Bevin said Tuesday he'll call lawmakers back in session prior to July 1.Reaction to the governor's action was mixed. The advocacy group Kentucky Government Retirees commended Bevin for nixing a bill it said exposed the Kentucky Retirement Systems to "unjustified risk."
March 27, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Hogan vetoes $15 minimum wage and two bills he calls ‘politically motivated’
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a $15 minimum wage Wednesday, setting up an override fight with the Democratic-controlled General Assembly over one of the top priorities of the state’s growing liberal wing.Hogan (R) also vetoed bills allowing school districts to set their own calendars and stripping power to regulate alcohol and tobacco from the state comptroller. All three bills passed by veto-proof majorities, and lawmakers could attempt to overturn the vetoes as soon as Thursday...
March 26, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Judge to rule Tuesday in second legal challenge to GOP laws curtailing powers of Tony Evers
Days after a Dane County judge blocked enforcement of laws curtailing powers of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, another judge said he will rule Tuesday in a separate legal challenge to the Republican laws.Meanwhile, a state appeals court could rule as soon as Tuesday on a request by Republican lawmakers in the first lawsuit to put the controversial laws back in place.The recent flurry of courtroom action has consumed much of the energy in the state Capitol as state leaders await a verdict on the future of the laws. Adopted by GOP lawmakers and former Gov. Scott Walker in December, the changes included limiting the attorney general’s ability to end the state’s participation in lawsuits, targeting the governor’s power to run the state economic development agency and advance administrative rules, and limiting early voting hours...
March 21, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Judge blocks laws limiting powers of Wisconsin governor
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A judge on Thursday temporarily blocked Wisconsin Republicans' contentious lame-duck laws limiting the powers of new Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who immediately used his restored authority to pull the state out of a multistate challenge to the Affordable Care Act.Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess brushed aside GOP concerns that the move would leave thousands of statutes passed in so-called extraordinary sessions susceptible to challenge. Republican legislative leaders vowed to appeal...
March 18, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Sen. Toomey on Rejecting Trump’s Border Emergency: ‘I Support Wall Funding,’ But Not This Way
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, one of 12 Republicans to vote with Democrats against President Trump's declaration of a national emergency to secure border wall funding, explained his vote Sunday.Toomey said Trump had used the National Emergencies Act of 1976 in a way not normally seen, and that his vote was not a rebuke of the president's call for a wall and strict border security...
March 13, 2019 | Separation of Powers
GOP Senators Want Emergency Powers Capped to Stop President ‘Acting Like a King’
More than a dozen Republican senators introduced new legislation seeking to put a cap on presidential emergency powers, days before they were expected to vote on a measure against President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration on immigration...
March 5, 2019 | Separation of Powers
McConnell says Trump likely to veto to resolution to end national emergency
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that President Trump would probably to veto a joint resolution to terminate his declaration of a national emergency at the border, and he predicted a two-thirds majority of Congress was unlikely to overrule the veto. Mr. Trump wants to use the declaration to unilaterally fund border security measures, including a wall at the southern border...
February 27, 2019 | Separation of Powers
President Trump threatens to veto gun bills pushed by Democrats
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is threatening to veto two Democratic bills expanding federal background checks on gun purchases, saying they do not sufficiently protect gun owners' Second Amendment rights.
The House is expected to vote this week on separate bills requiring background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms and extending the background-check review from three to 10 days...
February 18, 2019 | Separation of Powers
White House indicates Trump to veto disapproval of emergency
President Donald Trump is prepared to issue the first veto of his term if Congress votes to disapprove his declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border, a top White House adviser said on Sunday.
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told “Fox News Sunday” that “the president is going to protect his national emergency declaration.” Asked if that meant Trump was ready to veto a resolution of disapproval, Miller added, “He’s going to protect his national emergency declaration, guaranteed.”...
February 13, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Congress poised to put Trump in veto bind
President Trump has not issued a veto since taking office more than two years ago, but that may soon change.
The House will move a step closer to a major confrontation with Trump by voting as soon as Wednesday on a resolution that would cut off U.S. military support to the Saudi-led coalition in neighboring Yemen...
February 8, 2019 | Separation of Powers
House would uphold Trump veto on border wall emergency: GOP leader
If President Trump were to declare a border emergency and use the Pentagon to build his border wall, Congress wouldn’t be able to muster the votes to block him, the top House Republican said Friday.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s comments could stiffen spines at the White House, where Mr. Trump is pondering whether to use emergency powers to construct more border fencing, if he doesn’t win funding from Congress...
February 5, 2019 | Separation of Powers
New lawsuit from unions contends GOP lame-duck laws violate Constitution’s separation of powers
A group of unions on Monday filed a fourth legal challenge to controversial laws passed by Republican leaders just before Gov. Tony Evers took office — this one contending they violate the state constitution’s separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches...
January 25, 2019 | Separation of Powers
51 Dems ask House defense panel head to block Trump from using military funds for border wall
More than 50 House Democrats want to prevent President Trump from using future military funds to build his proposed border wall, even as the president has backed off from declaring a national emergency in order to do so.
In a letter led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and sent Friday, 51 lawmakers ask House Armed Service Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), to use the upcoming fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prevent the U.S. military “from becoming a pawn in Trump’s immoral, wasteful, and potentially illegal border ‘wall.’ ”...
January 18, 2019 | Separation of Powers
Trump vows to veto bills expanding abortion rights in video address to March for Life
President Trump vowed in a video message to the March for Life on Friday to veto any legislation that “weakens the protection of human life.”
“If they send any legislation to my desk that weakens the protection of human life, I will issue a veto and we have the support to uphold those vetoes,” Trump said in the message displayed to a crowd gathered for the annual anti-abortion march in Washington...
January 10, 2019 | Separation of Powers
How the Government Shutdown Could End—Without Trump
The government has been shutdown for nearly three weeks over funding for a border wall, nearing the 1995 record of a 21-day closure.
While negotiations between President Trump and Congressional Democrats have thus far come to naught, there is at least one way Congress can unilaterally reopen the government with out the commander-in-chief: veto override...
December 3, 2018 | Separation of Powers
Springfield City Council to take final votes on ordinance to protect immigrants
Ignoring a veto threat from the mayor, the City Council in Springfield, Massachusetts plans to take final votes tonight on an ordinance to ban city employees from asking people about their immigration status...
December 3, 2018 | Separation of Powers
Governor Snyder urged to veto efforts to gut minimum wage, sick leave
The Michigan League For Public Policy says lame-duck GOP legislative attempts to gut minimum wage and sick leave legislation is both anti-democratic and bad public policy…
December 3, 2018 | Separation of Powers
Supreme Court rejects environmental challenge to border wall
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday that challenged construction of the Trump administration's planned border wall…
December 1, 2018 | Separation of Powers
Judge rules Trump administration can’t withhold funds from Connecticut over ‘sanctuary’ cities
The Trump administration cannot withhold $29 million in federal money from New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and three other states that do not embrace harsh immigration policies, a judge wrote Friday, ruling that the effort violated the separation of powers...
November 29, 2018 | Separation of Powers
Immigrants get their “voice”: Illinois House overrides Voices Act veto
The Illinois legislature has approved the so-called Voices Act, overriding a veto from Governor Bruce Rauner…
November 29, 2018 | Separation of Powers
Mayor to veto landmark status for Citgo sign, but says long-term deal will preserve it
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the city has reached a deal that will preserve the iconic Citgo sign in Kenmore Square, but will veto designating it a landmark...
November 28, 2018 | Separation of Powers
White House threatens veto as Yemen resolution gains momentum
The White House has threatened to veto a joint resolution, up for a procedural vote in the Senate today…
- Impeachment Proceedings
- Checks and Balances in Times of Crisis
- The Supreme Court and Gay Marriage
- Constitutional Videos – Separation Viewing Guide
- To Confirm or Not to Confirm: That is the Question?
- Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation
- Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company v. Sawyer (1952)
- Judicial Review or Judicial Activism? Marbury v. Madison (1803)
- Bush v. Gore and the 2000 Presidential Election
- The Impeachment of Bill Clinton
- The Panama Canal Treaties: Jimmy Carter
- Nixon and the War Powers Resolution
- Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment
- James Buchanan and the Dred Scott Decision
- Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase
- Commander in Chief: Barbary Pirates
- Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion
- The Battle for Balance
- The Defense of Marriage Act
- The Federal Budget and the Constitution
- Who Checks the FBI?
- Federalist No. 26 eLesson
- Supreme Court GPS Warrant Ruling
- Pardon Me, Mr. President