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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Patriot Act Signing Statement

Briefly, Bush has been issuing signing statements with alot of the bills he signs into law. The theory is that these signing statements indicate the executive's position and understanding of the law, and they've been around for awhile.

But George Bush has taken to issuing legal arguments within this administration's signing statements, most famously on the torture amendment. Effectively, that statement argued that Bush was not bound by the torture amendment that he was signing into law.

We've got another one here reported by Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe.
WASHINGTON -- When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.....

In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."

Bush wrote: ''The executive branch shall construe the provisions . . . that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch . . . in a manner consistent with the president's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information . . . "

There is no law but Ceasar.

Or, maybe better said paraphrasing Al Gonzales, "we look forward to working with Congress in their advisory role."


  • What we see here is nothing more than a super-executive, which Rove-Cheney-and-Bush firmly believe in. It's not constitutional, but that doesn't matter.

    And, meanwhile, the GOP Congress complains about super-legislative justices. Of course that is b.s. code, but this shows their hypocrisy.

    It is amazing how much damage one administration can do.

    By Blogger copy editor, at 1:49 PM  

  • Exactly. Maybe the point is to gut the legislative before they lose the midterms later this year.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 2:02 PM  

  • Yeah, this is thumps up or thumbs down territory. Hail Caesar!!! :/

    Who is going to be our Brutus??

    And no, wire tapping folks, that's not a veiled attempt on the President's life. It is a call for an impeachment. See, nuance. I know that's not something that conservatives understand so I thought i'd better explain myself.

    By Blogger james, at 3:07 PM  

  • The UK is moving in much the same direction but are actually trying to codify the notion that the executive can make law (ignore law) without the consent or even the knowledge of the legislative.

    Two forms, same outcome.

    By Blogger Kvatch, at 3:19 PM  

  • Jesus James, it's really sad statement of where we are that you feel, even jokingly, that you have to explain that to avoid the feds.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 3:39 PM  

  • Interesting observation kvatch.

    "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

    By Blogger copy editor, at 4:34 PM  

  • Agreed.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 5:26 PM  

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