Sunday, July 23, 2006

Laws Don't Apply Here... Move Along.

It looks like the America Bar Association has finally stepped up to the plate by challenging President Bush's authority to attach 'signing statements' to hundreds of bills he has signed. In plain talk, these signing statements are like W's way of saying "I am signing this law, but I don't have to follow it if I don't feel like it." The real problem here is 'checks and balances'. How can the legislative branch check and balance the executive branch if the executive branch gets to direguard laws at will?

To be sure, Bush did not invent this practice. It has been used by many presidents, though not in a volume anywhere close to how Bush has been using it. He has attached signing statements to hundreds and hundreds of bills.

The task force said the statements suggest the president will decline to enforce some laws. Bush has had more than 800 signing statement challenges, compared with about 600 signing statements combined for all other presidents, the group said.

He has issued 200 more signing statements than all other presidents combined? This isn't a blatant misuse of power? If not, what is? This is a very serious issue, as it effects the very balance of power, and the checks that keep that balance.


my other side said...

Would you be able to direct me to an example of the 'signing statement' that he is signing?

Shane C. Mason said...

Well, that's a good question. He has actually attached a signing statement to EVERY BILL he has signed.

He even attached a signing statement to his only veto, the one on stem cell research. This particular statement is particularily disturbing because of the content.

cited the Bush administration's continued support for the occupation of Iraq. It advised that the president could question the constitutionality of the veto, and indeed intentionally violate it on the grounds of supporting further enlistment and functioning of the Army and National Guard. The document cited the recruitment shortfalls in all branches of service as well as the diminished organ donor pool for casualties in Iraq.

He even chooses to have the ability to over ride his own veto, as long as it is for war?
Here is a link to a good article, and another.

my other side said...

This is ridiculous. He signs a bill and then attaches a statement that basically says, "In the future if I feel I need to change this, I will". It seems to me he is using a loophole to "line item veto" at his and only his discretion.

Even more disturbing is that he attached a signing statement to the "Anti-torture" bill he accepted in January. A tidbit from "Democracy Now":

"While the bill signing received significant press coverage, what Bush did following the signing has not. According to the Boston Globe, Bush quietly issued what is known as a signing statement in which he lays out his interpretation of the new law. In this document Bush declared that he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. Legal experts say this means Bush believes he can waive the anti-torture restrictions. New York University Law Professor David Golove criticized Bush's move. He said ''The signing statement is saying 'I will only comply with this law when I want to, and if something arises in the war on terrorism where I think it's important to torture or engage in cruel, inhuman, and degrading conduct, I have the authority to do so and nothing in this law is going to stop me. "

Sickening. And I thought the United States of America was a democracy, how silly of me.

Shane C. Mason said...

Oh yeah? What's this 'democracy' you speak of? It was Bush that said:

"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier - just so long I'm the dictator."
December 18, 2000 (Video Link)

And being the lazy guy he is, he took the easy road.

Shane C. Mason said...


It is worthy to note that Arlen Specter is drafting a bill to challenge the constitutionality of the signing statements.

See here for more

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