Federal Legislative Process
Standard Clauses in statutes, i.e.,
1) “enacting clause” (including what is an enacting clause? what are the consequences of the absence of an “enacting clause”?)
The enacting clause is the beginning language of each bill in the House or Senate: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled… that gives the force of law to bills approved by both Houses of Congress and signed by the President or approved by overriding his veto. If a motion is made and carried to “strike the enacting clause” of a bill, it has the effect of killing the measure.
2) severability clause
The severability clause (sometimes referred to as a salvatorius clause, from the Latin word salvatorius) is the name for a special clause that regulates the legal consequences or the applicability of the remaining clauses of a contract when some clauses of a contract are or become ineffective or infeasible. The goal of the severability clause is usually to maintain the spirit of the contract as much as possible.
Severability clauses are sometimes used in statutes, to preserve the effectiveness of certain portions of the statute if some part is struck down as unconstitutional by a court acting in judicial review.
“If a provision of this Agreement is or becomes illegal, invalid or unenforceable in any jurisdiction, that shall not affect:
1. the validity or enforceability in that jurisdiction of any other provision of this Agreement; or
2. the validity or enforceability in other jurisdictions of that or any other provision of this Agreement.”
A preamble is an introductory statement or preliminary explanation as to the purpose of the document and the principles behind its philosophy. The term is particularly applied to the opening paragraph(s) of a statute, which recite historical facts which may be pertinent to the issue being discussed. It is often confused with the long title or the enacting formula of a law.
While preambles may seem just like unimportant introductory matter, their words may have effects that may not have been foreseen by their drafters. For instance, it is on the basis of the preamble of the French Constitution, mentioning the solemn regard of the French Republic towards the principles set forth in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen that the Constitutional Council has declared certain laws to be unconstitutional (the first case being decision 71-44DC). In Canada as well, the preamble to the Constitution Act, 1867 was cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Provincial Judges Reference, to increase guarantees to judicial independence. In India, the Supreme Court frequently rules unconstitutional amendments which violate the Basic Structure of the Constitution, especially its Preamble. Judges have argued that the necessary-and-proper clause allows the U.S. federal government to act freely in any of the areas of the preamble to the United States Constitution, a point challenged repeatedly by their Originalist colleagues.
For this reason, the redaction of the preamble of the proposed European Constitution, in 2002, has caused much controversy because of the possible inclusion of references to the Christian heritage of Europe; could such a sentence be used in the future from a legal point of view? Likewise, in Australia in 1999, a referendum on whether to adopt a new preamble came with a promise that the preamble, if adopted, could not be enforceable by the courts, as some were concerned the preamble would be interpreted and applied by judges questionably.
4) legislative findings
5) liberal interpretation clause
A liberal statement of the intention of the bill so that a court would clearly understand it purpose.
In the United States Congress, a joint resolution is a legislative measure which requires approval by the Senate
* creating a temporary joint committee
Sometimes, before the Supreme Court’s Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha decision ended the practice, concurrent resolutions were used to override executive actions via a mechanism known as the legislative veto.
Concurrent resolutions are distinguished by bill number. Concurrent resolutions originating in the Senate are abbreviated “S.Con.Res.” and those originating in the House are abbreviated H.Con.Res.
In the United States, a simple resolution is a legislative measure passed by only either the Senate or the House. Since they have only been passed by one house, simple resolutions are not presented to the President, and do not have the force of law. The resolution is used for matters such as establishing the rules under which each body will operate.
How a bill becomes a law:
Legislation is Introduced – Any member can introduce a piece of legislation
House – Legislation is handed to the clerk of the House or placed in the hopper.
Senate – Members must gain recognition of the presiding officer to announce the introduction of a bill during the morning hour. If any senator objects, the introduction of the bill is postponed until the next day.
* The bill is assigned a number. (e.g. HR 1 or S 1)
* The bill is labeled with the sponsor’s name.
* The bill is sent to the Government Printing Office (GPO) and copies are made.
* Senate bills can be jointly sponsored.
* Members can cosponsor the piece of Legislation.