Monday, February 25, 2008

Signing Statements Dems vs. Repubs

McCain says he would not use signing statements as President, Obama and Clinton says they would, but only rarely.

"Responding to a questionnaire late last year by the Boston Globe, Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) made clear their view that Bush has gone too far in issuing signing statements -- but that there are circumstances in which such statements are necessary.

"The problem with this administration is that it has attached signing statements to legislation in an effort to change the meaning of the legislation, to avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like, and to raise implausible or dubious constitutional objections to the legislation," Obama answered. But, he added: "No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president's constitutional prerogatives."

In her own Globe questionnaire, Clinton made a similar point about legal issues. "I would only use signing statements in very rare instances to note and clarify confusing or contradictory provisions, including provisions that contradict the Constitution," she wrote. "My approach would be to work with Congress to eliminate or correct unconstitutional provisions before legislation is sent to my desk."

via Washington Post

While I understand the impetus to use signing statements - to preserve Presidential power, but only when it is clear the legislature is overstepping it bounds, signing statements, it seems to me, are simply a line-item veto in disguise.

In 1998, the Supreme Court ruled the line item veto was unconstitutional.

"The 6-3 ruling said that the Constitution gives a president only two choices: either sign legislation or send it back to Congress. The 1996 line-item veto law allowed the president to pencil out specific spending items approved by the Congress."
via CNN

If the President feels his or her authority is being usurped by the Congress, the President can always send the legislation back or, if his veto can be overridden, take his argument all the way to the Supreme Court. But to use a signing statement, just strikes me as unconstitutional.



Post a Comment

<< Home