To Answer Andre’s Question, Yes An Override Might Be Unconstitutional

There is, unfortunately, a good argument to be made that the House’s veto override was unconstitutional. From Article III, § 5, ¶ XIII, of the Constitution:

(c) The Governor shall have the duty to transmit any vetoed bill or resolution, together with the reasons for such veto, to the presiding officer of the house wherein it originated within three days from the date of veto if the General Assembly is in session on the date of transmission. If the General Assembly adjourns sine die or adjourns for more than 40 days, the Governor shall transmit any vetoed bill or resolution, together with the reasons for such veto, to the presiding officer of the house wherein it originated within 60 days of the date of such adjournment.

(d) During sessions of the General Assembly, any vetoed bill or resolution may upon receipt be immediately considered by the house wherein it originated for the purpose of overriding the veto. . . . . All bills and resolutions vetoed during the last three days of the session and not considered for the purpose of overriding the veto and all bills and resolutions vetoed after the General Assembly has adjourned sine die may be considered at the next session of the General Assembly for the purpose of overriding the veto in the manner herein provided. If either house shall fail to override the Governor’s veto, neither house shall again consider such bill or resolution for the purpose of overriding such veto.

Now, because the Constitution does not clarify what “receipt” means, it could be that the Governor announcing he has vetoed the legislation is sufficient. The Senate and Governor are arguing that there must be an actual transmittal of the veto and reasons for the veto before an override vote can happen.

Read on for my brilliant, on the fly, rapid legal analysis of the situation.

The House seems to be of the opinion that it has received confirmation of the veto and that should be enough. However, because the Governor is allowed three days to transmit and Article III, § 5, ¶ XIII(d) expressly contemplates that some bills might not have a chance to be overridden because the veto occurred in the last three days and the Governor can take three days to transmit a veto, it does seem that the Constitution contemplates that “upon receipt” means “receipt of the transmittal” and not mere notice.

This, however, would be a matter for the courts to decide.

So yes Andre, even though vetos and overrides of vetos are constitutional, the Constitution provides also the constitutional methods and manners to be applied. Just because an act may be constitutional, an act applied improperly under the constitution may be unconstitutional as applied.

In the same way, if the Senate originated a revenue bill and the Senate and House both passed it unanimously, it would still be unconstitutional despite passing both House of the General Assembly unanimously. The Constitution requires bicameral adoption of legislation, but it also requires revenue bills to originate in the House of Representatives.

I should update this to add that given the Georgia Supreme Court’s propensity to interpret the Constitution liberally, the House just might win on the argument that Sonny both announced his veto and the reasons for the veto — combined he, in effect, transmitted the veto back to the House for its consideration. Likewise, if the House and Senate both act accordingly, the Supreme Court just might stay out of it and say it is a political fight.

7 comments

  1. Demonbeck says:

    All those words and not a single bork or umlaut. Impressive – coming from the resident Commander-in-Swedish-Chef

  2. Erick says:

    David, I think it takes a sexual act — in this case anal intercourse with the Speaker on the bottom and the Governor on top.

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