Third, our decision rests on the narrow ground that the procedures authorized by the Line Item Veto Act are not authorized by the Constitution. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 is a 500-page document that became “Public Law 105-33” after three procedural steps were taken: (1) a bill containing its exact text was approved by a majority of the Members of the House of Representatives; (2) the Senate approved precisely the same text; and (3) that text was signed into law by the President. The Constitution explicitly requires that each of those three steps be taken before a bill may “become a law.” Art. I, S. 7. If one paragraph of that text had been omitted at any one of those three stages, Public Law 105-33 would not have been validly enacted. If the Line Item Veto Act were valid, it would authorize the President to create a different lawone whose text was not voted on by either House of Con gress or presented to the President for signature. Something that might be known as “Public Law 105-33 as modified by the President” may or may not be desirable, but it is surely not a document that may “become a law” pursuant to the procedures designed by the Framers of Article I, S. 7, of the Constitution.
The Slaughter rule — an attempt to allow Democrats to deny they did not vote for the wildly unpopular Senate Health Care Plan — would have members vote on a different text (that is, one deeming that text passed), rather than the text itself. Therefore, according to Clinton v. New York (a 6-3 decision, where the majority opinion was written by John Paul Stevens), the Slaughter rule is unconstitutional. Thus, if the Slaughter Rule is used to pass ObamaCare, ObamaCare was never passed by Congress, and cannot be enforced.
Frankly, as a strict constructionist, I’m not really happy with this. But I would be delighted if John Paul Stevens’ judicial activism was the iceberg that sank ObamaCare!