"I'm an amendment to be, yes an amendment to be"

It seems that Pres. Obama really does understand the separation of powers. How nice. It must have something to do with his having bothered to study the Constitution. From the Times:
Calling into question the legitimacy of all the signing statements that former President George W. Bush used to challenge new laws, President Obama on Monday ordered executive officials to consult with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. before relying on any of them to bypass a statute.


Mr. Bush frequently used signing statements to declare that provisions in the bills he was signing were unconstitutional constraints on executive power, claiming that the laws did not need to be enforced or obeyed as written. The laws he challenged included a torture ban and requirements that Congress be given detailed reports about how the Justice Department was using the counter-terrorism powers in the USA Patriot Act.
In other words, he frequently ignored laws passed by the legislature. While other presidents have finessed their enforcement of the law using signing statements, Bush was particularly fond of doing so. Per Washington Monthly:
While previous presidents had used signing statements sparingly, mainly to address constitutional and/or implementation questions, Bush ended up issuing nearly 1,200 legal challenges through signing statements -- more than every other president in American history combined, times two.
Got that? Bush used signing statements to essentially ignore the legislative branch (controlled for 75% of his two terms by his own party) more than twice as often as every other American president combined. His disdain for the basic foundations of American democracy was unparalleled. Words fail to express just how happy I am that he is gone.

PS> I know that this really has very little to do with amending the Constitution, but Bush's signing statements always brought to mind the numerous hands crossing out inconvenient bits in this classic from "The Simpsons."

1 comment:

  1. I think that Sen. Byrd would disagree with the claim that Pres. Obama "really does understand the separation of powers." True, he has asked people in his Administration to consult with an Administration attorney before stonewalling Congress, but hey, that's like asking a barber if you need a haircut.

    Sen. Byrd questions Obama's use of policy 'czars'

    "The rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances," Byrd wrote in a letter to Obama. "At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials."

    "Byrd specifically cited the creation of a new White House Office of Energy and Climate Change, which is headed by Carol Browner. He also noted new offices for health reform and urban affairs policy and the appointment of White House staff to coordinate on technology and management performance policies."