Power of the Pen

The subtitle of this excellent piece James Brovard has written for The American Conservative Magazine is “The president uses signing statements to decree which laws apply to him.” This is a good read. Here’s an extract:

For generations, Republican politicians have spoken reverently of the rule of law. But since 2001, this hoary doctrine has been redefined to mean little more than the enforcement of the secret thoughts of the commander in chief.

George W. Bush has added more than 750 “signing statements” to new laws since he took office. Earlier presidents occasionally appended such comments to new statutes, but Bush is the first to use signing statements routinely to nullify key provisions of new laws. He perennially announces that he will not be bound by limits on his power and that he will scorn obligations to disclose how federal power is being used.

While Bush supporters speak glowingly of originalist interpretations of the Constitution, Bush’s signing statements have far more in common with George III than with George Washington. The Constitution specifies that Congress shall “make all laws” and that presidents must “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” But Bush—his ego swollen by swarms of groveling intellectuals—has embraced theories that convince him that the president alone may decree what shall be the law.

Click the headline for the full essay.

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