In the U.S., is the presidential veto a negative construct?

As I see it, it seems to me that that veto is a pure check on Congress, as it does not force Congress to do anything, or, at best, (can) alters legislative packages while they are being created.

  • 2
    what do you mean by "negative construct" Sep 10, 2013 at 16:44
  • 1
    @SamIam - I guess he means it's not creating any legislation. The OP isn't a native speaker, FYI.
    – user4012
    Sep 10, 2013 at 19:54
  • The President either approves or disapproves laws passed by Congress. This is part of the 'checks and balances': Congress can pass a bill with a simple majority, however for it to become law the President has to endorse it. If it is vetoed, then Congress can override the veto with a 2/3rds majority. In normal circumstances Congress and the President are on the same page and legislation passed is signed and put in effect. However if Congress and the President are having a fight, Congress has the means to overrule. Sep 12, 2013 at 8:57

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is :0

A Veto, from its very Latin definition, means "I forbid." It does not have the power to create a thing, only to forbid the implementation and ratification of a thing. When the President vetoes a law, he is telling Congress, this law may not be implemented.

The closest thing to "creating" would be if the line item veto were enacted, and if said President were to attempt something like striking the word "not" out of a bill. That wouldn't go over well with Congress or the Court, however, so, no - it doesn't create anything.

  • 1
    In Wisconsin, a governor once used the line-item veto power in a fashion referred to as the "Vanna White Veto", striking most of the words in a bill but keeping a word here and there which, when concatenated, would form something the governor wanted. I think that was challenged in court, but I don't remember the result.
    – supercat
    Jul 22, 2016 at 23:29

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