July 31, 2006
Executive Signing Statements
The arguments over the ABA's study on signing statements are proceeding apace. I suggested in an earlier filing that Bush's transparency in the use of such statements was a positive not a negative. The ABA condemned Bush's overuse of the technique despite its long history and recent use by President Clinton. Clinton's legal counsel, Walter Dellinger, now a Duke law professor, has an editorial in the New York Times stating that, yes, I wrote a 1993 memo stating that Clinton has the power to use signing statements, but that overuse is abuse. He notes a few paragraphs in his 1993 memo on restraint. He, like other Clinton folks, is attempting to walk a fine line; Clinton's use of signing statements was good, Bush's use is bad. What is missing, of course, it a clear definition of abuse other than one that depends on who is in the White House.
I am suspicious over anything signed by the Yale Dean now days. [He was a signer of the report.] When academics get sanctimonious it is usually trouble. The Yale Dean pulls the self-righteousness trigger very fast as is evidenced by his post-argument press conference in the case on military recruiters in law schools. The court noted that high school students should know better than to make the arguments the Dean favored and he made them with great self-righteousness.
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