Monday, February 05, 2007

Signing Statements Update

The Boston Globe reported on February 1 that John Conyers, Jr., the new chair of the House Judiciary Committee, stated that "he is launching an aggressive investigation into whether the Bush administration has violated any of the laws it claimed a right to ignore in presidential 'signing statements.'" The issue boils down to whether the administration has abused its powers, which Conyers plainly believes it has. "Bush has claimed that his executive powers allow him to bypass more than 1,100 laws enacted since he took office. But administration officials insist that Bush's signing statements merely question the laws' constitutionality, and do not necessarily mean that the president also authorized his subordinates to violate them." Six attorneys have been added to Judiciary's staff in order to pursue the investigation, a measure of how seriously Conyers considers this issue to be. The article cites data compiled by Professor Christopher Kelley, a political science professor at Miami University in Ohio. According to Professor Kelley, "Bush has used signing statements to challenge 1,149 laws that were contained in 150 bills...By comparison, all previous presidents combined challenged about 600 total laws."

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

Good catch, Marie! What an important development! We were just talking in my class about the effects of signing statements. Maybe it will be resolved before W leaves office. (how optimistic is that?)