Congress Votes to Override Obama Veto on 9/11 Victims Bill [The New York Times] “Congress on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to override a veto by President Obama for the first time, passing into law a bill that would allow the families of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot. Democrats in large numbers joined with Republicans to deliver a remarkable rebuke to the president. The 97-to-1 vote in the Senate and the 348-to-77 vote in the House displayed the enduring power of the Sept. 11 families in Washington and the diminishing influence here of the Saudi government. The new law, enacted over the fierce objections of the White House, immediately alters the legal landscape. American courts could seize Saudi assets to pay for any judgment obtained by the Sept. 11 families, while Saudi officials have warned they might need to sell off hundreds of billions of dollars in holdings in the United States to avoid such an outcome.” [more inside]
The European Union said Friday that 26 of its 27 member countries are open to joining a new treaty tying their finances together to solve the euro crisis. Only Britain remains opposed, creating a deep rift in the union. In all, just 23 of the 27 EU countries signed on outright to draft a new treaty binding them to a uniform regime of deficit controls and budget regulation. Only one country said no: Britain. Three more say they are open to the idea. [more inside]
Provoking pro-choice advocates, Oklahoma passed two highly restrictive abortion laws on Tuesday. One (rtf file) requires doctors to show women an ultrasound of their fetus and point out its physical characteristics — even if the patient was impregnated through rape or incest. The second (rtf file) stipulates that doctors cannot be sued if they decide to lie to an expectant mother regarding her baby's birth defects. A third requires clinics to post signs telling patients they cannot be forced to have an abortion. The first law prompted an immediate lawsuit from Tulsa's only abortion clinic. [more inside]
Veto is a four-letter word (google quickview, here's the PDF):.Governor Schwarzenegger of California, at odds with the state legislature but ever the poet, vetoes Assembly Bill 1176 with a nice little acrostic.
The partial veto, enshrined in the Wisconsin Constitution since 1930, gives the governor the power to veto only a portion of a bill passed by the legislature. Since then, governors, both Republican and Democratic, have gotten increasingly creative about its application -- vetoing the word "not" to reverse the meaning of a bill, vetoing digits out of numbers to reduce appropriations, even vetoing individual letters from words in order to create new text, Humument-style. (This last power, the so-called "Vanna White" veto, was removed by Constitutional amendment in 1990.) Another attempt to strip the governor of the partial veto has just failed. Doesn't it sound like fun to be governor of Wisconsin? Try it yourself.
President Bush defends democratic values and upholds our majoritarian principles by choosing not to exercise the veto power.
Congress agrees, citizens shouldn't have the same right to bankruptcy protection as corporations. The Senate and House, after much lobbying by credit card companies, have decided that consumers don't need protection. Corporations can still file for bankruptcy, leaving stockholders and employees standing in the rain, but Joe Consumer had better not get sick, lose his job, or not pay that usurious 25% interest rate. This is the same bill that Clinton vetoed as being unfair to consumers...but we all know where this regime's loyalties lie...and it ain't the people.