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WRIGHT V. UNITED STATES, 302 U. S. 583 (1938)

U.S. Supreme Court

Wright v. United States, 302 U.S. 583 (1938)

Wright v. United States

No. 37

Argued November 1, 1937

Decided January 17, 1938

302 U.S. 583


1. In the last clause of Const., Art. I, § 7, par. 2, which provides:

"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,"

the words "the Congress" refer to the entire legislative body consisting of both Houses. P. 302 U. S. 587.

2. The Constitution neither defines what shall constitute a return of a bill by the President nor denies the use of appropriate agencies in effecting a return. P. 302 U. S. 589.

Page 302 U. S. 584

3. A bill, passed by both houses of Congress, was presented to the President of the United States on Friday, April 24. On Monday, May 4, the Senate took a recess until Thursday noon, May 7. The House of Representatives remained in session. On May 5, the President returned the bill with a message setting forth his objections addressed to the Senate, in which the bill had originated, and bill and message were delivered on that day to the Secretary of the Senate. When the Senate reconvened on May 7, the Secretary advised the Senate of the return of the bill and the delivery of the President's message. On the same day, the President of the Senate laid before it the Secretary's letter and the message. The message was read and, with the bill, was referred to the Senate Committee on Claims. No further action was taken. Held that the bill did not become a law. Pp. 302 U. S. 589, 302 U. S. 598.

4. The constitutional provisions involved should not be so construed as to frustrate either of two fundamental purposes: (1) that the President shall have suitable opportunity to consider the bills presented to him, and (2) that the Congress shall have suitable opportunity to consider his objections to bills and on such consideration to pass them over his veto provided there are the requisite votes. P. 302 U. S. 596.

5. Pocket Veto Case, 279 U. S. 655, distinguished. General expressions in an opinion are to be taken in connection with the case in which they were used. P. 302 U. S. 593.

84 Ct.Cls. 630 affirmed.

Certiorari, 301 U.S. 681, to review an order of the Court of Claims (without opinion) overruling an application for the reopening and retrial of a case which had previously been dismissed in 60 Ct.Cls. 519. The claimant relied upon a new enabling provision, passed by Congress, disapproved of by the President, which the Government claimed had not become a law.

Page 302 U. S. 585

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