The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, May 29, 2006

Anatomy of a signing statement

Mil Apodos called my attention to this piece in yesterday's Boston Globe. They've been about the only major press outlet covering the story of Bush's 750 signing statements-- shocking, considering the broad implications of a president who routinely declares himself above the law. This lengthy story looks at the genesis of the Bush signing statements, and you probably won't be surprised to learn that Bush himself comes off as being almost an afterthought in his own White House. The real people reworking two centuries of Constitutional law aren't elected officials, but ambitious political operatives who don't seem to answer to anyone.

The office of Vice President Dick Cheney routinely reviews pieces of legislation before they reach the president's desk, searching for provisions that Cheney believes would infringe on presidential power, according to former White House and Justice Department officials.

The officials said Cheney's legal adviser and chief of staff, David Addington , is the Bush administration's leading architect of the ``signing statements" the president has appended to more than 750 laws. The statements assert the president's right to ignore the laws because they conflict with his interpretation of the Constitution. (. . .)

Previous vice presidents have had neither the authority nor the interest in reviewing legislation. But Cheney has used his power over the administration's legal team to promote an expansive theory of presidential authority. Using signing statements, the administration has challenged more laws than all previous administrations combined.

Highly recommended reading.