Posted on Aug 03, 2006
The American Bar Association has said that President Bush is flouting the Constitution and undermining the Rule of Law by claiming that he has the power to disregard certain portions of bills passed by congress that he has signed. In a detailed report, a bi-partisan eleven-member panel of the ABA documented that President Bush has used such "signing statements" far more than any of his predecessors, raising objections to more than 800 provisions and more than 100 laws on the grounds that they infringe on his prerogatives as President. According to the panel these wide-ranging assertions of presidential power amount to a "line-item veto" and improperly deprive Congress of the opportunity to override that veto. One of the most notorious examples of this is when President Bush signed a statutory ban on torture and other national security laws, he reserved the right to disregard them. The ABA Panel said the use of signing statements in this manner was both contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers." Since the founding of our republic presidents have understood as George Washington said, a president "must approve all the parts of a bill or reject it in toto". If the president considers a bill to be unconstitutional, he can veto it, the panel said, but "signing statements should not be a substitute for a presidential veto.