Skip to main content

View Diary: Signing statement: Bush asserts right to permanent bases, Iraqi oil (258 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  So "treaty by signing statement" ? (15+ / 0-)

    I don't think that this will hold up constitutionally.

    •  Someone has to test its constitutionality (19+ / 0-)

      The statute doesn't require the president to set up a commission, it establishes a commission. It's not clear how the members of the commission are to be chosen, but unless they're supposed to be appointed by the president, I don't see how Bush can stop it.

      Of course, the Bush Administration's compliance with requests or subpoenas for information or testimony is another matter. At that point, the Congress has to grow some balls and actually enforce the subpoenas, instead of putting it off until the Twelfth of Never.

      As appropriations, I think that Congress has to specifically authorize each expenditure, and make sure that no  money is authorized for the construction of permanent bases.  The president's desire to enter into a de facto treaty with Iraq that doesn't get submitted to the Senate for approval another matter. Sen. Clinton is proposing a bill to prohibit such an agreement, but I am sure that Bush will ignore it.  However, if he ignores it, I don't see why the next president is bound by it.

      It's the Constitution, stupid.

      by litigatormom on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 11:46:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too bad impeachment is "off the table" (4+ / 0-)

        Wonder if the Dem leadership will consider "War Crimes" on the table. If we can't impeach him... maybe we can deport him to the Hague!

      •  Those signing statements are codified when (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TaraIst, KenBee, eastmt

        entered into the Federal Register.  The Federal Register is the codified source of new rules, changes in rules and final rules.

        Codified being the operative word there.

        The Federal Register is utilized as a cite in legal documents. These "signing statement" laws contained within the Federal Register from the executive branch would be considered statutory law and would trump the non-statutory precedents of the courts. Would it not?

        I have not seen anyone address this issue.

        <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

        by bronte17 on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 12:07:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think so (5+ / 0-)

          but I confess that I have not researched it.  the Federal Register contains regulations and executive orders, not statutes. What makes you think that signing statements are published in the federal register? And even if they were, they would not constitute an amendment of a statute. Regulations have to be consistent with the statute that authorizes them; you can't make up regulations that extend beyond with or nullifies a statute. Regulations that have been improperly promulgated or are inconsistent with a statute can be challenged under the Administrative Procedures Act.

          An executive order arguably instructs federal agencies within the executive branch as to the proper manner of compliance with a statute. I don't know a lot about executive orders, but again, I don't believe they can be inconsistent with statutory law.

          It's the Constitution, stupid.

          by litigatormom on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 12:29:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am positive the signing statements are in there (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TaraIst, KenBee, markthshark

            in the Federal Register.  My heart stopped when I read that (probably read that piece of information in something that Chris Kelley had written).

            I noted this differentiation between "statutory" and "non-statutory" specifically for a reason... I believe Yoo and Addington are utilizing the insertion into the Federal Register as one of the mechanisms for legitimizing these signing statements. Statutory trumps the non-statutory.

            Though I am not a constitutional scholar, so someone with a better background needs to weigh in on this. Citing of the Federal Register is utilized in legal briefs, so a bell went off in my head when I read that bush's signing statements were entered into the Federal Register.

            <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

            by bronte17 on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 01:25:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  He can't... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bronte17, KenBee, NonnyO

            by law. That would be making the laws instead of faithfully (yeah right) executing them.

            I don't know a lot about executive orders, but again, I don't believe they can be inconsistent with statutory law.

      •  There's legislation floating 'round Congress... (4+ / 0-)

        I don't see how Bush can stop it.

        ... somewhere that aims to make sure he can't. Bush is using signing statements as de facto [and unchallengeable] veto powers --- sooooo unconstitutional.

        And, to back it up:

        In July 2006, an ABA "Blue Ribbon Task Force"—not "The ABA"—found that these presidential assertions of constitutional authority "undermine the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers."  The report of the bipartisan commission, which relied on the American Presidency Project database, can be found here: Presidential Signing Statements (PDF) (emphasis mine)

        I also found this from the Boston Globe:

        In an essay published in the Boston Globe on August 9, 2006, liberal scholar Lawrence Tribe wrote that signing statements are "informative and constitutionally unobjectionable."  but, added... "... what is objectionable is the president’s failure to face the political music by issuing a veto and subjecting that veto to the possibility of an override in Congress."

        Tribe also has an intriguing way for Congress to deal with the frat-boy-in-chif's recurring recalcitrance:

        "An eventual challenge to a president should come not to the statement, but to the fact that a president failed to enforce a law or that his actions resulted in harm to others."  

        In the latter case, Tribe has in mind Presidential directives about how to treat "unlawful combatants."  Tribe’s essay can be found here: (registration & archive fee required)

      •  George Bush presents "Constitution-lite!" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litigatormom, jimreyn

        ARTICLE ONE:

        "Constitution? We don't need no stinkin' Constitution!"

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site