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Kennedy v. Sampson

511 F.2d 430 (1974)

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Kennedy v. Sampson

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

511 F.2d 430 (1974)

Facts

Edward M. Kennedy (plaintiff) filed a lawsuit in federal court against the administrator of the General Services Administration and the chief of White House records (collectively, the administrators) (defendants) seeking a declaration that the Family Practice of Medicine Act (the act) was a validly enacted law that the administrators had to publish. The act was passed as a bill in the House of Representatives and Senate in 1970. The bill was presented to the president on December 14, 1970. On December 22, Congress adjourned for Christmas. Both houses authorized agents to receive messages from the president during the adjournment. On December 24, the president sent a memorandum disapproving of the bill, but he did not officially veto the bill. Article I, § 7 of the United States Constitution provides that a bill, once passed by both houses of Congress, must be presented to the president. The president must either sign the bill into law or veto it, returning the bill to the house from which it originated. If the president does not sign or return the bill within 10 days, the bill becomes a law unless Congress adjourned, preventing its return. The administrators argued that the president vetoed the bill through a pocket veto because Congress adjourned during the 10-day period. Kennedy, who voted in favor of the bill, argued that the bill became a law because the president failed to sign or veto the bill within 10 days of being presented the bill. The district court held that the act became a law on December 25, 1970, when the 10-day period expired, and ordered the administrators to publish the law. The administrators appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tamm, J.)

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