[lg policy] How a bill becomes a law 2.0

Dennis Baron debaron at ILLINOIS.EDU
Fri Jun 3 21:59:51 UTC 2011

How a bill becomes a law 2.0: Going hi-tech, Pres. Obama renews the Patriot Act with an autopen. The Web of Language http://t.co/7cJn6i7

Because he was traveling in Europe when it came time for him to approve the extension of several key parts of the USA Patriot Act, Pres. Obama signed the bill, not in person, but long distance, with an autopen.

Anyone familiar with how a bill becomes a law will remember that, according to Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution,

Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it.

Normally the president signs with a pen. But on May 27, when he had to sign the bill, the president was attending the G8 summit in France, the same meeting where French Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy called for greater government control of the internet. So instead of overnighting the bill to Deauville for a traditional, in-person signature by fountain pen, Mr. Obama, a veteran internet surfer devoted to his Blackberry and his iPad, used that internet to Skype his authorization to have the autopen, a mechanical writing machine that was programmed with his autograph, sign the bill into law from half a world away.

Read the whole post on the Web of Language: http://t.co/7cJn6i7
Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English                    
University of Illinois 
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801                                               

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321


read the Web of Language:

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