Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Susan Siggelakis

Second Advisor

Andrew Smith

Third Advisor

Dante Scala


The legislative veto – a device by which Congress approves or disapproves executive action on a particular matter – has been one of Congress’s favorite tools for keeping the executive branch, and all of its departments and agencies wielding increased regulatory and policymaking power, in check. Since 1983, when the Supreme Court ruled in INS v. Chadha that the legislative veto was unconstitutional, presidents have been warding off attempts by Congress to include the device in its legislation, relying principally on their signing statements to voice their objections. In doing so, presidents invoke Chadha extensively, with no other Court case comparable in terms of the sheer number of mentions in constitutional signing statements. Neither the presence of divided government nor each president’s relations with Congress are correlated with mentions of Chadha. Rather, this phenomenon is an institutionalized practice characterized by increasing returns and path dependency. As is their inherent desire, successive presidents have been intent on protecting the constitutional powers of the presidency.