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Thursday, December 22, 2011

President Who Declared Bush Signing Statements ‘Unconstitutional’ Issues Yet Another Signing Statement

President Who Declared Bush Signing Statements ‘Unconstitutional’ Issues Yet Another Signing Statement

“We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress.” - Barack Obama, 2008

By Dell Hill

Hat Tip - Ed Morrissey

First, a refresher.

It was 2008 and then presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a mini-lecture to the crowd about President George W. Bush using signing statements when signing legislation into law.

A transcript:

Q: When Congress offers you a bill, do you promise not to use presidential signage [sic] to get your way?

OBAMA: Yes. [Applause] Let me just explain for those who are unfamiliar with this issue.  You know, we’ve got a government designed by the founders so that there’d be checks and balances.  You don’t want a President that’s too powerful or a Congress that’s too powerful or courts that are too powerful.  Everybody’s got their own role.  Congress’ job is to pass legislation.  The President can veto it, or he can sign it.  But what George Bush has been trying to do is part of his effort to accumulate more power in the Presidency, is, he’s been saying, “Well, I can basically change what Congress passed by attaching a letter that says ‘I don’t agree with this part’ or ‘I don’t agree with that part.’  I’m going to choose to interpret it this way or that way.”  Uh, that’s not part of his power.  But this is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he’s going along.  I disagree with that.  I taught the Constitution for ten years, I believe in the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution of the United States.  We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress.”

And there was much rejoicing among the sheeple.

Fast forward to the current Obama administration and the words of his Attorney General, Eric Holder.

“Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed speculation Wednesday that President Barack Obama would issue a signing statement when he makes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its controversial detention provisions law.

“We made really substantial progress in moving from something that was really unacceptable to the administration to something with which we still have problems,” Holder said in response to a question from the Wall Street Journal’s Evan Perez.  “But I think through these procedures, with these regulations we will be crafting, we can minimize the problems that will actually affect us in an operational way.


“So we are in a better place, I think the regulations, procedures that will help, and we’ll also have a signing statement from the president” which will help clarify how they view the law, Holder said.”

In other words, Obama doesn’t like the legislation as passed by the legislature so he’s issuing a signing statement, outlining his opposition to part of that law and, in direct violation of the Constitution (his words as a ten year professor of Constitutional law, remember), he’s exercising power he formerly declared a President doesn’t have!  And it’s not the first time Obama has done so.

Holder, meanwhile, outlines the provisions of the legislation that the White House doesn’t like and indicates strongly that those provisions won’t be enforced by his office.  As a matter of policy - dictated by the President - the part they like will be enforced; the part they don’t like will not.

Isn’t that exactly what candidate Obama promised NOT to do?

Another campaign promise.....Ignored!

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