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Jimmy Carter and the Legislative Veto: Fighting Federal Comity Encroachment
Unformatted Document Text:  coupled with his formal message to Congress and the respectful defiance by his staff constituted a turning point in the legislative veto history. Carter tried polite and respectful tactics but when they proved insufficient to deter the staunch proponents of legislative vetoes, the thirty-ninth President shifted to more aggressive measures. Contrary to the negative historical image often imposed on Carter, describing him and Gerald Ford as aberrations between the strong leaders of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Carter’s fight against the legislative veto proves he was a strong President in his own right but that his power came from putting federal comity first; putting the cooperative presidency over the imperial one. Carter proved Presidents can lead through cooperation and not resort to positions of arrogance. The legacy of Carter’s fight also manifested in a court case that made its way through the Federal Courts during Carter’s time in office. In 1983 that case, INS v. Chadha, made it to the Supreme Court. After a long and protracted legal battle over Jagdish Chadha’s right to stay in America – a right challenged by a legislative veto – on June 23, 1983, Chief Justice Warren Burger affirmed Chadha’s right to say in the United States seventeen years after he first entered the country. However the Court’s decision had implications far greater and broader than the fate of Jagdish Chadha. The Court struck down the legislative veto. Though this ruling came during Ronald Reagan’s presidency the major showdown over the device occurred during Carter’s time in office. Despite the gestures made by Ford and the presidents before him, the major battle over the legislative veto occurred on Carter’s watch. Through to lawyers, Chadha’s name may 11

Authors: Friedman, Jason.
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coupled with his formal message to Congress and the respectful defiance by his staff
constituted a turning point in the legislative veto history. Carter tried polite and
respectful tactics but when they proved insufficient to deter the staunch proponents of
legislative vetoes, the thirty-ninth President shifted to more aggressive measures.
Contrary to the negative historical image often imposed on Carter, describing him and
Gerald Ford as aberrations between the strong leaders of Richard Nixon and Ronald
Reagan, Carter’s fight against the legislative veto proves he was a strong President in his
own right but that his power came from putting federal comity first; putting the
cooperative presidency over the imperial one. Carter proved Presidents can lead through
cooperation and not resort to positions of arrogance.
The legacy of Carter’s fight also manifested in a court case that made its way
through the Federal Courts during Carter’s time in office. In 1983 that case, INS v.
Chadha, made it to the Supreme Court. After a long and protracted legal battle over
Jagdish Chadha’s right to stay in America – a right challenged by a legislative veto – on
June 23, 1983, Chief Justice Warren Burger affirmed Chadha’s right to say in the United
States seventeen years after he first entered the country. However the Court’s decision
had implications far greater and broader than the fate of Jagdish Chadha. The Court
struck down the legislative veto. Though this ruling came during Ronald Reagan’s
presidency the major showdown over the device occurred during Carter’s time in office.
Despite the gestures made by Ford and the presidents before him, the major battle over
the legislative veto occurred on Carter’s watch. Through to lawyers, Chadha’s name may
11


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