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View Diary: Congress Is No Longer Silent (262 comments)

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  •  Strategy question (1+ / 0-)
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    DSPS owl

    I'm concerned that holding hearings on signing statements may serve to help validate them. Signing statements have no force of law, and while I'm glad they're being covered in the press, I think it would be better for Congress to directly challenge their content, rather than focusing on their existence. Their existence is just a piece of paper; actually using them to defy a law is what is illegal.

    Specifically, I think it would be relatively easy to take one of the laws requiring the executive branch to report to Congress, for which Bush issued a signing statement declaring that he's not necessarily going to follow it (the usual weasel words about "interpret according to his Constitutional authority," of course, not directly admitting anything.) Demand the required report, and make them either cite the signing statement in their refusal (pushing the practice into the legal realm where it can be firmly defeated) or back down and implicitly admit that signing statements have no force. Do this enough times, and we'll have a firm precedent.

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