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U.S. President George W. Bush signs a law in 2005 to place a statue of Rosa Parks at the U.S. Capitol.

A signing ceremony is a ceremony in which a government document of importance is signed (approved) by an executive. Typically the document is a bill passed by a legislature, thus becoming a law by the executive's signature. However, the document may also be, for example, an executive order,[1][2][3] international agreement,[1] or a veto statement that disapproves of a legislative measure.[4][5][6]


Modern-day signing ceremonies are derived from ceremonies that occurred when the British monarch gave Royal Assent to acts of Parliament. Signing ceremonies are an aspect of American politics.

Signing ceremonies may be performed by U.S. state governors upon signing a state document (generally an act of the state legislature, making it into state law) or by the President of the United States (generally making an act of Congress into federal law). The President often invites leaders from the Congress that were instrumental in the passage of the bill as well as interested members of the community. One practice is to use several pens and honor individuals by giving them the pens used in the signing ceremony. For the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, President Lyndon B. Johnson used more than 75 pens. The pens were then given to attending dignitaries and supporters of the bill, including Rosa Parks, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Everett McKinley Dirksen and Martin Luther King Jr.

Signing ceremonies are associated with acts that are viewed as legislative triumphs for the executive. Conversely, laws that are passed reluctantly or are controversial are often signed into law quietly and privately without any public ceremony.

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  1. ^ a b Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States (PDF). 1993. pp. 1475, C1. Remarks at the Signing Ceremony for the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles", "Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement Reform, Executive order signing ceremony", "Budget control and deficit reduction, Executive order signing ceremony", "Historically black colleges and universities, Executive order signing ceremony
  2. ^ "The Union Postal Clerk & the Postal Transport Journal". 1969. President RICHARD M. NIXON signed the new "LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS IN THE FEDERAL SERVICE" Executive Order on October 29. The formal signing ceremony took place in the Cabinet Room of the White House...
  3. ^ "American Review of Politics". 28-29. University of Central Arkansas Press. 2007: 204. Furthermore, Bush signed the second pair [of] executive orders in a setting that closely resembled that of a traditional bill signing ceremony, as if they were regular pieces of legislation.
  4. ^ 1989 Congressional Record, Vol. 135, Page 13591 "The President should have had the veto signing ceremony at the local gas station." [1]
  5. ^ "Penn State Law Review". 2006: 545. Governor Ehrlich stated at the veto signing ceremony that...
  6. ^ Ward, Alex (March 15, 2019). "The New Zealand shooter called immigrants "invaders." Hours later, so did Trump". Retrieved March 15, 2019. On Friday, Trump issued the first veto of his presidency to override a congressional blockade of the national emergency he declared at America’s southern border. During the veto signing ceremony, Trump explained why he felt a national emergency was warranted to stop migrants from entering the US.