Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Presidential Signing Statements = Abuse of Power

I just learned about presidential signing statements today on NPR and I'm blown away!

It's no wonder Bush has never vetoed a bill from Congress. In many ways, a presidential signing statement is more powerful than a veto.

What is a presidential signing statement? When Bush signs a law, he then issues a legal document , known as a signing statement, to go into the federal register along with the bill. In the signing statement Bush issues executive orders declaring which parts of the bill he disaggrees with and intends NOT to follow.

These signing statements can be more powerful than a veto for several reasons:
  • They go unnoticed. Even many congressmen aren't aware of them.
  • They cannot be overridden by congress.
  • In some cases there can never be a plaintiff to force the issue before the supreme court.

This president and his republican party have in the past vigorously whined about "judicial activist" - judges who interpret the law the way the want to interpret it rather than the way congress wrote it. Isn't this exactly what Bush is doing? Isn't presidential activism far more sinister and dangerous to our country than judicial activism could ever be (since the executive branch of government is the one that enforces laws)?

This is just one more example of the dumbest president in American history trying to elevate himself and the office of the president to the level of absolute dictatorship.

"This is an attempt by the president to have the final word on his own constitutional powers, which eliminates the checks and balances that keep the country a democracy. There is no way for an independent judiciary to check his assertions of power, and Congress isn't doing it, either. So this is moving us toward an unlimited executive power."

-- Bruce Fein
-- a deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration

Full Story:
Boston Globe: article by Charlie Savage

Examples: Examples of presidential signing statements

Can you say tyranny?

Can you say impeachment?

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