2006/01/09

Presidential Signing Statements - Incredibly Dangerous Nonsense

Here we have a dangerous little practice where Bush, the president who never saw a bill he didn't like, basically declares his intent to ignore legislation as he signs it into law. Not a veto--a Statement at Signing.

"What? Can he do that?" you might ask. Well, no...actually. The Constitution does not grant the president any such power, and yet Bush frequently tries to circumvent Congress' will by adding these statements. Most recently he used this tactic on the McCain anti-torture amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill. No wonder Bush caved and signed the damn thing. He had no intention of complying with it anyway.

I could go on about how dangerous signing statements are, but frankly BHFRIK at Club Lefty attacks the issue and reduces it to a pile of smoking rubble. I highly recommend his post.

8 Comments:

Good post, Great link. This should definately be finding its way into the news, especially with the Alito confirmation hearings going into Presidential power and authority.
I direct your attention to the landmark decision established in the 2000 US Supreme Court case Gore v. Bush. In writing for the majority, Chief Justice Rehnquist summarized...

"It is the opinion of this Court that should Mr. Bush hold his breath and stamp his feet in a particulary annoying manner, he shall be given what he wants."

Concurring with the majority, and forseeing an obstinate Congress, Justice Scalia added...

"As President, should Mr. Bush cross his fingers behind his back while signing legislation, he shall in no way be obligated to enforce, or be bound by, such law."

So there you go. Nice and legal. Next question?
And to think it was Alito who recommended this procedure to Ronald Reagan. Kind of makes you wonder what kind of Justice we have being nominated to the Supreme Court.
Oh yeah, I guess it is much easier to faithfully execute the rules you make yourself as opposed to those passed by the Congress. Never mind that that puts Congress out of a job though.
Hey... Thanks for the link and the kind words. :)
Hey... Thanks for the link and the kind words.

My pleasure. The importance of the issue can't be understated, and you're more thorough than I could ever be.
Yes indeed, if you read transcripts of these things you will find the prez chooses to construe the law to his best advantage. And if that means ignoring the constitution to do it, then hell, he's going for it.
"It is the opinion of this Court that should Mr. Bush hold his breath and stamp his feet in a particulary annoying manner, he shall be given what he wants."

Would that this were really the case. I can just imagine Cheney now, "OK Mr. President, now just hold for 3 more minutes."

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