Much has been written about the use of the Presidential Signing Statements by the President George W. Bush. I open the discussion of the legality of such statements that allows a President (Unitary Executive) to dismiss portions of a Bill that are presented for signing. Presidential Signing Statements that nullify portions of a bill presented to the President for signing assume the nature of the Line Item Veto
. The Line Item Veto was declared unconstitutional by the courts and upheld by the US Supreme Court in 1998. Hence, the Presidential Signing Statements used by Bush are unconstitutional.
Also, the Line Item Veto was specifically limited to budgetary issues:
``Sec. 1021. <<NOTE: 2 USC 691.>> (a) In General.--Notwithstanding
the provisions of parts A and B, and subject to the provisions of this
part, the President may, with respect to any bill or joint resolution
that has been signed into law pursuant to Article I, section 7, of the
Constitution of the United States, cancel in whole--
``(1) any dollar amount of discretionary budget authority;
``(2) any item of new direct spending; or
``(3) any limited tax benefit;
Borrowing the words of John Robers, the unconstitutionality of the Line Item Veto is settled law; hence, this would be just one more abuse of our Selected President that consideres himself above the law.
I'm not a lawyer, but this has been on my mind since I first heard about the statements a few months back. I invite a discussion to help me and perhaps others understand how these statements are different from assuming line item veto authority.