Monday, June 9, 2014

Signing Statements

James Monroe was the first president to add a signing statement to legislation.  In the beginning they were simply rhetorical and between James Monroe and Ronald Reagan only 75 had been done.

Between Reagan, Bush, and Clinton they more than tripled that number.  Now of course, some signing statements are still rhetorical, but of Reagan 34% objected to some portion or all of the legislation passed by congress. George H.W. objected to 47%, Clinton issued more signing statements, but only 18% were in objection.  George W's objections rose to a whopping 78%.

When running for office Obama was asked about the use of signing statements:

"when congress offers you a bill, do you promise not to use presidential signing statements to get your way?" Obama gave a one-word reply: "Yes."

Obama issued his first signing statement in 2009 but to date has only used the signing statement 27 times. While he hasn't used it to the extent of his predecessors, he has used it.  Most recently in association with the trading of Taliban prisoners in exchange for Bergdahl.

The American Bar Association has released the following statement on the subject:

The use of signing statements to modify the meaning of duly enacted laws serves to "undermine the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers"

What is your opinion?


No comments: