(Ratify / Enact / Pass) a law

A-friend

Senior Member
Persian (Farsi)
What is the most suitable verb from among the mentioned verbs, for the following sentence?
- Regarding to the women’s rights, the parliament (ratified / enacted / passed) a new law yesterday.
I would be thankful if you let me know the sematic difference between these three verbs and tell me what are the reasons of your suggestions?
 
  • A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    It's impossible to answer without knowing the legislative process of whatever nation-state you are talking about.
    Thank you Sdgraham
    Supposing we are talking about the U.S.'s legislative process regarding to (pass / ratify / enact) a new bill or a new law; which one of the mentioned verbs usually is used in such a process?
     

    morior_invictus

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    You can ratify "only" (i) a contract (on behalf of a principal, acting as their agent), (ii) international treaty, (iii) constitutional amendments.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    The subtle difference between pass and enact is, I think, that what parliament does is pass the law (this is the technical democratic part of the process) and then the enacting is the formal signing of it into law (this is more of a ceremonial function), which would be done by the head of state (Queen, President) or their representative.
     

    word gumshoe

    Senior Member
    persian
    Hi A-friend,

    For the most part for formal approving, we use ''enact''.

    Ratify is somehow comparative with ''confirmation'', which the former is stronger, And as Edinburger has mentioned ''enacting'' is followed by ''passing''.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    The subtle difference between pass and enact is, I think, that what parliament does is pass the law (this is the technical democratic part of the process) and then the enacting is the formal signing of it into law (this is more of a ceremonial function), which would be done by the head of state (Queen, President) or their representative.
    So as I understood, you mean that the word "ratify" has nothing to do with the verbs "Pass" and "enact" at all (at least concerning to this subject); then you believe that in a parliament, irrespective of its location, a law or an act should be passed first to be able to be counted as a law / act and then to make it functional it should be enacted by someone like (Queen or President or...) (this is your mentioned nuance); if not please correct me and if so, I should say even sometimes it seems that we are allowed to use these two words interchangeably. Am I right? :)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Thank you Sdgraham
    Supposing we are talking about the U.S.'s legislative process regarding to (pass / ratify / enact) a new bill or a new law; which one of the mentioned verbs usually is used in such a process?
    In the U.S. legislative process, the answer is more complex than just language.


    1. We have neither a parliament, nor a parliamentary form of government.
    2. The Congress can pass proposed legislation but cannot enact it because it also requires a signature from the president, with the exception that a two-thirds majority of each house can override a presidential veto.
    3. The U.S. Senate must ratify treaties negotiated by the government. We use "ratify" to mean "approve" in certain (and rather limited) cases. The U.S. Senate also must approve appointments to some high governmental offices, but we call that "confirm" rather than "ratify." The Congress does not "ratify" laws. You just have to learn each case. There's no general rule.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Thanks SDG as usual for you informative and constructive, detailed responses
    But I think I can summarize your statements as following:
    The legislative process in the U.S.:
    Congress --- > “Passes” a proposal --- > President signs the proposal --- > If no majority vetoed the presidential vote, the congress can “enact” the proposal
    Register: The Congress does not “ratify” laws
    + Accordingly congress first have to pass a law and according to the mentioned flowchart, if all systems go, can enact a law at last.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    - The U.S. Senate must ratify treaties negotiated by the government. So “Ratify” means “Approve” in certain (and rather limited) cases.
    - The U.S. Senate must approve appointments to some high governmental offices, but it is called “Confirm” rather than “Ratify.”
    Am I right? :)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Thanks SDG as usual for you informative and constructive, detailed responses
    But I think I can summarize your statements as following:
    The legislative process in the U.S.:
    Congress --- > “Passes” a proposal --- > President signs the proposal --- > If no majority vetoed the presidential vote) the congress can “enact” the proposal
    Register: The Congress does not “ratify” laws
    + Accordingly congress first have to pass a law and according to the mentioned flowchart, if all systems go, can enact a law at last.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    - The U.S. Senate must ratify treaties negotiated by the government. So “Ratify” means “Approve” in certain (and rather limited) cases.
    - The U.S. Senate must approve appointments to some high governmental offices, but it is called “Confirm” rather than “Ratify.”
    Am I right? :)
    Generally yes, but we call proposed legislation a "bill."

    We don't capitalize verbs not formed from proper nouns. Don't capitalize confirm, ratify or approve.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Hi A-friend,

    For the most part for formal approving, we use ''enact''.

    Ratify is somehow comparative with ''confirmation'', which the former is stronger, And as Edinburger has mentioned ''enacting'' is followed by ''passing''.
    This isn't correct.

    Proposed legislation, as sdgraham and Edinburgher point out, is "passed" by a vote - either of a congress or of the people. It is only "enacted" when it is put into effect, normally by a different branch or agency of the government. So an immigration law might be passed by a state senate but then enacted by the police force/border control/immigration agency of that state.

    In American politics, "ratification" normally applies to the process of amending various constitutions.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    So as I understood, you mean that the word "ratify" has nothing to do with the verbs "Pass" and "enact" at all (at least concerning to this subject); then you believe that in a parliament, irrespective of its location, a law or an act should be passed first to be able to be counted as a law / act and then to make it functional it should be enacted by someone like (Queen or President or...) (this is your mentioned nuance); if not please correct me and if so, I should say even sometimes it seems that we are allowed to use these two words interchangeably. Am I right? :)
    Yes, as morior said, ratification applies to treaties, not to laws, so I was commenting only on passing and enacting.

    Laws, after a lot of preparatory work and discussion behind the scenes, are introduced (as "bills") into the legislative chambers (Parliament, Congress/Senate), and once they are approved there, which is called "passing", they're sent to the Queen who then signs them (called "enacting"). At that stage the Bill becomes an Act and is then law. I don't think the Queen really has much by way of option to refuse to enact a passed bill, so I don't know what the constitutional position is if that should happen.

    As I understand SDG, the procedure is a bit more complicated in US, where the president can refuse to enact, but if the House's majority is high enough it can then either force the president to enact it after all, or can enact it itself.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Another clarification: The President doesn't "enact" passed bills. He "signs [passed bills] into law." A law is only enacted when it goes into effect. You can see this distinction in the following extract from Wikipedia:
    A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature.[1] A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an Act or a statute.
    In most cases, passed bills become laws immediately upon their executive approval, but that is not necessarily the case.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    The extract you quote, lucas, fails to make that distinction clear. It implies that "being enacted into law" is the result of it being passed by the legislature and approved by the executive.

    I suspect what you have in mind in your caveat is that the bill/act itself may contain provisions stating when it comes into effect. I would view that situation as it having been enacted before it comes into effect. It may not yet be in force (enforceable), but is nevertheless on the statute books.

    Most bills come into force immediately they are enacted, but some have a built-in delay to allow people time to change their procedures to be compliant with the new laws.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top