Here's a quick chronology:
- The terror detainee bill was passed and sent to the White House on September 29.
- Congress officially adjourned on that same day.
- The President signed the bill on October 17.
So what's the problem? Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, which states:
If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.That's inconvenient.
Update: The problem is in the bit about presented to him. I thought that passing the bill and sending it out of the committee counted as that. Instead, there's a formal parliamentary action for presenting the bill and this bill was presented to the President on October 10. Crap.