The big story ... | Arkansas Blog

The big story ...

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.. and a story the press is mostly ignoring (an exception today being a lengthy report on NPR) is Bush's unprecedented use of "signing statements."  Dan Froomkin gives it a good loook in the Nieman Watchdog, a publication of the foundation that provides fellowships to top journalists.

President Bush’s unprecedented use of “signing statements” to quietly assert his right to ignore legislation passed by Congress – including its ban on torture – first came to light in January due to some aggressive reporting by Boston Globe reporter Charlie Savage.

In April, Savage reported his astonishing discovery that Bush has claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws in all since he took office:

Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead, he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes praise upon their work.

Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files “signing statements” -- official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. The statements are recorded in the federal register. . .

In his signing statements, Bush has repeatedly asserted that the Constitution gives him the right to ignore numerous sections of the bills -- sometimes including provisions that were the subject of negotiations with Congress in order to get lawmakers to pass the bill. He has appended such statements to more than one of every 10 bills he has signed.

Since then, a few major news organizations have taken note of this amazing story -- then let it drop.


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