Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Signing Statements and Alito

If you haven't read about "signing statements" as a way the president winks as he signs legislation, read this story. In his 5 years, he's vetoed no bills but has put spin on the signing at least 500 times.

The roots of Bush's approach go back to the Ford administration, when Dick Cheney, then serving as White House chief of staff, chafed at legislative limits placed on the executive branch in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and other abuses of power by President Nixon. Now the vice president and his top aide, David Addington, are taking the lead in trying to tip the balance of power away from Congress and back to the president.

They may soon have an ally on the Supreme Court. As a Justice Department lawyer in the Reagan administration, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito wrote a 1986 memo outlining plans for expanded use of presidential signing statements.

Why bother to veto a bill when you don't plan to follow it anyway?


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