By Michael Collins
Part I of III
"The architecture of a totalitarian state is almost fully in place and the lawless implementation is accelerating. While the Bush violations of the Constitution and various federal codes were greeted with shock in some quarters, the staid declaration of a presidential assassination order by Nobel Peace Prize winner, President Barack Obama, was met with virtually no resistance by Congress." Michael Collins
By Michael Collins
One of the biggest abuses of Presidential authority by the Bush Administration has been the use and misuse of Presidential Signing Statements in order to create and extend a precedent for the President's capacity to "legislate from White House" -- above and beyond the President's inherent authority to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."1
In a recent online discussion, the following passage was brought up in order to broach -- and presumably rebut -- the topic of the Bush Administration's abuse of signing statements by justifying their use through the explanations provided by the Clinton Administration.
"These functions [signing statements] include (1) explaining to the public, and particularly to constituencies interested in the bill, what the President believes to be the likely effects of its adoption, (2) directing subordinate officers within the Executive Branch how to interpret or administer the enactment, and (3) informing Congress and the public that the Executive believes that a particular provision would be unconstitutional in certain of its applications, or that it is unconstitutional on its face, and that the provision will not be given effect by the Executive Branch to the extent that such enforcement would create an unconstitutional condition.
"Clinton did it too" doesn't make it right, however; while there are valid reasons for the inclusion of signing statements and the use of same in the place of a Presidential veto, the current implementation as practiced by the Bush Administration -- and thus setting a precedent for all future Administrations, regardless of party affiliation -- amounts to a frightening dissolution of the checks and balances placed upon the branches of the government by our founding fathers.
Below, I'll provide some additional context pertaining to the excerpt above and follow up with an excerpt from the Georgetown Law Faculty Blog that provides at least four major reasons why the Bush Administration's practice is objectionable.
IANAL: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV and I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.