February 21, 1998 in Nation/World

Lawyers Argue For Line-Item Veto

Associated Press

The Clinton administration asked the Supreme Court on Friday to quickly overturn a federal judge’s ruling and clear the way for continued use of the president’s line-item veto power.

Justice Department lawyers, submitting the appeal, argued that Congress did not let the president unlawfully usurp its power when giving him the unprecedented authority to veto specific items in spending bills.

U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan struck down the line-item veto law nine days ago, a blow to what President Clinton and the Republican Congress consider a key to fighting wasteful “pork-barrel” projects.

The government’s appeal urged the nation’s highest court to review Hogan’s ruling on a fast track that would let the justices issue a decision by spring or early summer. The court is expected to grant that request.

“The district court erred … in holding that the (1996 law) is unconstitutional,” the government’s appeal said. It said the law “vests the president with authority to determine … whether items of spending that Congress has appropriated will in fact be spent. That grant of authority is fully consistent with historical practice.”

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