Robert C. Byrd: Line-Item Veto Speech XIV

(1993)

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Mr. President, this is the fourteenth in my series of speeches on the line-item veto, with particular reference to the Roman Republic and the Roman Senate. When I began this series of one-hour speeches on May 5, I spoke of Montesquieu, the eminent French philosopher and author who had greatly influenced the Founding Fathers with his political theory of checks and balances and separation of powers.…

I have also stated a number of times that if we are to have a better appreciation and understanding of the U.S. Constitution—its separation of powers and checks and balances, and the power over the purse—then we should follow in Montesquieu’s tracks and study Roman history as he did, and that is what we have been doing together during these past several months.

What have we acquired to pay us for our pains? What have we learned that can be applicable to our own time, our own country, and to the political questions of today concerning checks and balances and the control...