Monday, August 14, 2006

Signing statements evidence of more pervasive Constitutional issue.

While the President's usage of signing statements is the focus of much commentary, a number of members of the facility of Georgetown Law feel that the statements are merely evidence pointing toward a far more dubious proposition than a debatable concern over the constitutionality of particular aspects of particular omnibus bills.

Georgetown Law Faculty Blog: Untangling the Debate on Signing Statements:

"The final, and most important, problem with the practice in this Administration, as we emphasized above, is not the signing statements themselves, nor the simple fact that the President might be engaged in nonenforcement, but instead the substance of many of the Administration's constitutional objections: e.g., the extremely broad theories of the Commander-in-Chief Clause and the 'unitary executive' that underlie many of the signing statements and other distorted statutory constructions. If those constitutional objections were well-taken, and were publicly disclosed and debated, the signing statements themselves would present far fewer problems. But many of us believe that the Administration is wrong on the merits; and it is that substantive concern, along with the concerns about the lack of transparency and about the use of nonenforcement as a tactic of first resort, that should be at the heart of this debate.

Unfortunately, the ABA Task Force Report has glossed over this important question of the substantive meaning of Executive prerogatives. In what seems like a misguided effort to fulfill its goal of nonpartisanship, the Report states “[o]ur recommendations are not intended to be, and should not be viewed as, an attack on the current President.” But criticism of a particular President’s abuse of power, far from being partisan, is an obligation of the legal profession."
Worth reading in it's entirety; twice.

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