Executive Veto Power (August 15)

Robert Morris
suggested the expedient of an absolute negative in the Executive. He could not agree that the Judiciary which was part of the Executive, should be bound to say that a direct violation of the Constitution was law. A control over the legislature might have its inconveniences. But view the danger on the other side. The most virtuous Citizens will often as members of a legislative body concur in measures which afterwards in their private capacity they will be ashamed of. Encroachments of the popular branch of the Government ought to be guarded against. The Ephori at Sparta became in the end absolute. The Report of the Council of Censors in Pennsylvania points out the many invasions of the legislative department on the Executive numerous as the latter is, within the short term of seven years, and in a State where a strong party is opposed to the Constitution, and watching every occasion of turning the public resentments against it. If the Executive be overturned by the popular branch, as happened in England, the tyranny of one man will ensue. In Rome where the Aristocracy overturned the throne, the consequence was different. He enlarged on the tendency of the legislative Authority to usurp on the Executive and wished the section to be postponed, in order to consider of some more effectual check than requiring 2/3 only to overrule the negative of the Executive.
Can one man be trusted better than all the others if they all agree? This was neither wise nor safe. He disapproved of Judges meddling in politics and parties. We have gone far enough in forming the negative as it now stands...
after viewing the subject with all the coolness and attention possible was most apprehensive of a dissolution of the Government from the legislature swallowing up all the other powers. He remarked that the prejudices against the Executive resulted from a misapplication of the adage that the parliament was the palladium of liberty. Where the Executive was really formidable, King and Tyrant, were naturally associated in the minds of people; not legislature and tyranny. But where the Executive was not formidable, the two last were most properly associated. After the destruction of the King in Great Britain, a more pure and unmixed tryanny sprang up in the parliament than had been exercised by the monarch. He insisted that we had not guarded against the danger on this side by a sufficient self-defensive power either to the Executive or Judiciary department.