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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Executive privilege

Curious about Bush's signing statements? Here's a fabulous link that will fill you in.

For those who aren't aware of it, a Presidential Signing Statement is, essentially, an addendum a President attaches to a bill when he signs it into law, that basically says "Yes, I'm signing this damn thing, but I have certain reservations about it, which I will detail in this statement."

Other Presidents before Dubya have used signing statements -- it's a mechanism that isn't mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, but that past Presidents have used to express a lack of complete agreement with a bill that, for whatever reason, they don't hate enough to actually veto.

Dubya, however, loves signing statements to an unprecedented degree. He has issued hundreds of them. His primary purpose in doing this is two fold -- first, he doesn't want to risk having a veto overturned, which is generally something that costs an Administration an enormous amount of political capital. Second, he honestly doesn't see any reason why the laws Congress passes should be binding on him or anyone who works for him, and seems to truly believe that as Chief Executive, he has the power to rewrite and modify any and all laws to suit himself.

The link up there leads to a blog post that will show you the 'Top 10' signing statements Dubya has issued, but again, he's done this hundreds of times.


At 8:09 AM , Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Thanks for sharing the link. I'd noted elsewhere, previously, that the signing statements were originally used in a proclamatory manner. I believe the example I saw indicated Franklin Roosevelt using one to thank congress for working through a particularly tough issue.

I also remember that I saw something (during the confirmation hearings) indicating that Samuel Alito was one of the earliest advocates of broadening the scope of signing statements.

At this point, I don't think any of the signing statements have been 'tested', but with Alito on the Supreme Court now, and with the bench leaning in his favor, it would appear that El Jefe pretty much has carte blanche with this stuff.

Very, very disheartening to see the delicate system of checks and balances being dismantled right before our eyes...


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