The Book of Ron Paul
1997 Ron Paul Chapter 18


15 April 1997

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. PAUL] is recognized for 5 minutes.

1997 Ron Paul 18:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I appreciated very much the remarks made by the previous speaker regarding Jackie Robinson. I think it would be interesting to note that the great achievement of Jackie Robinson all occurred prior to affirmative action, and I think that should be noted.

1997 Ron Paul 18:2
Today, though, I would like to spend a few minutes talking about the courts. I have been a strong critic of the courts, especially the Federal courts, because so often the Federal courts seem to be so often unconcerned about the Constitution, and so often they do a lot more legislation than they should.

1997 Ron Paul 18:3
Last week there was a court ruling that I was very pleased with, and I believe they deserve a compliment. There was a Federal court judge by the name of Thomas Jackson last week in the district court who ruled that the line-item veto was unconstitutional. Simply put, he said, it was unconstitutional because it delegated too much powers to the President. It was clear in the Constitution that the powers to legislate are given to the Congress. So I am very pleased to see this ruling and to compliment him on this.

1997 Ron Paul 18:4
To me, it was an astounding event really to see so many a few years back pass the legislation that gave us the line-item veto, and so often the proponents of the line-item veto was made by individuals who claimed they were for limited government. But this item, the line-item veto really delegates way too much power to the President, is unconstitutional, and if we believe in limited government, we ought to believe in maintaining this power in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

1997 Ron Paul 18:5
The court ruled that it just is not constitutional for a President to be able to rescind an appropriation or specific tax or a specific tax benefit, or for even that matter, a regulation. This is far and beyond anything intended by the writers of the Constitution. I am convinced the founders of this country, the writers of our Constitution, would have been proud of this ruling.

1997 Ron Paul 18:6
The line-item veto gives too much power to the President. It gives the President political power. It gives him the chance to lobby for his particular piece of legislation with the threat that if you do not vote for what I want, I can line-item veto that special thing that you like for your district.

1997 Ron Paul 18:7
Having been in the Congress prior to this term for several years, I had been lobbied on a few occasions by conservative Presidents, and the only time they ever called was for me to vote for more spending, never less spending. So I see the line-item veto as something a President can use actually to enhance or increase spending, not to reduce spending, which is the intent.

1997 Ron Paul 18:8
The line-item veto will still be ruled on again in the Supreme Court. I am sure it will be appealed. I will be anxiously awaiting to find out exactly what occurs there, but already in the corridors I hear a fair amount of grumbling among our fellow Members, Members who are saying, I wonder what the President is going to do. Is he going to take his veto pen out and line-item out a special project. I think that is a justifiable concern.

1997 Ron Paul 18:9
I think it is important that we concern ourselves about these issues because the main goal that we ought to have is to follow our oath of office, which is to obey the Constitution, and we should not be passing legislation that disregards the Constitution.

1997 Ron Paul 18:10
When the judge ruled, he had a statement that was somewhat out of the ordinary, but to me rather profound. He said that it is critical that we maintain the separations of powers in order to preserve liberty. And that is the purpose of the separation of powers. It is to preserve liberties. It was designed deliberately, specifically, and we must cherish it.

1997 Ron Paul 18:11
I have to compliment those individuals from the other side of the aisle who brought suit, took it to court, and insisted that this be ruled on with the sincere belief that it is unconstitutional to have a line-item veto. I appreciate that very much, and I yield back the balance of my time.


1997 Ron Paul 18:2
Ron Paul says so often unconcerned and Congressional Record omits that instance of so often. See the C-Span video, at 19:17:05 local time.

1997 Ron Paul 18:11
Ron Paul says, And that is the purpose, and Congressional Record omits And. See the C-Span video, at 19:20:57 local time. Ron Paul concludes, and I yield back the balance of my time. and Congressional Record omits that. See the C-Span video, at 19:21:24 local time.

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