July 24, 2006
ABA Committee on Executive Signing Statements
When the President is confronted with a law from Congress that he thinks is, in part, unconstitutional (it impedes executive prerogatives, for example) but he respects those parts of the law that are constitutional, what should he do? 1) Veto the entire law (he has no line item veto)? 2) Sign the law, enforce the entire law and bring an lawsuit in federal court to have the unconstitutional parts stricken? 3) Sign the law, enforce only the parts he believes are unconstitutional and not those that he believes are unconstitutional? The ABA wants him to do 1) and not 3), even though Presidents have done 3) for ages. What galls the ABA is that the President does 3) and announces it when he signs the bill -- he is transparent. He is signaling to Congress and others that those who object to his position can take the case to the Supreme Court. [They are correct here however that the Supreme Court should recognize Congress's complaint as a "case and controversy".]
The ABA Committee has decided this transparency is a threat to the constitution. Better to sign the law and then issue an internal memo to Justice not to enforce it?? If 3) is a constitutional option, and it is, then an open signing statement is the best way to announce the administration's intentions. The Committee (look at its membership) is anti-Bush. When Clinton did this in the backroom it was fine but when Bush does it out in the open, it is "a strategic weapon." Please.
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This is just another in a long series of examples of the far-leftist tendencies of law-related faculties and associations. As a strong supporter in the constitution party platforms of libertarian economics, limited federal governance and minimal taxation, I am abhorrent when hear those directly opposed to my beliefs condemn an action solely based upon their dislike for the person performing it.
Do you think that the court may change its opinion on the line-item veto?
Posted by: Jeff Mohrman | Jul 25, 2006 9:46:05 AM