The DUers are all abuzz over this story out of the Judiciary committee:
June 27, 2006
Legal Experts to Senate Committee: Bush "Signing Statements" Unconstitutional, Impeachable
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT
In a hearing today, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on presidential signing statements, which Ranking Member Leahy called "a grave threat to our constitutional system of checks and balances." Recent reports have highlighted how Bush has issued these orders in record numbers and exercised unprecedented overreach by giving himself the authority to ignore certain parts of the laws he signs.
Because of the extralegal nature of the signing statements, there is nothing for Congress or the Supreme Court to actually overrule. Nevertheless, the statements are binding for policy implementation.
Bruce Fein, attorney and renowned legal scholar, told the committee that Bush has essentially given himself a line item veto power by declaring portions of new laws unconstitutional and offering his own revisions.
"These statements, which have multiplied logarithmically under President George W. Bush, flout the Constitution's checks and balances and separation of powers. They usurp legislative prerogatives and evade accountability," Fein said. "The President does not enjoy a constitutional option of unilaterally pronouncing a provision he has signed into law as unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it on that count."
Citing Bush's behavior as "alarming," Fein suggested that the President could be impeached for "political crime(s) against the Constitution."
Legal Experts... otherwise known as Moonbat Lefties with JD's.
Here is an excerpt of my previous post on the subject of signing statements, which demonstrates that the Left is off the deep end on this one:
First, all Presidents have used signing statements. Clinton used them regularly... and it is in their perogative to indicate to the legislative branch those provisions which the President feels are encroaching on presidential powers, typically those involving the military since the President is the Commander in Chief. These disagreements are ultimately decided by the Judicial Branch. This is called checks & balances. Here are some examples of instances where signing statements were used in the past... from this 2003 presentation by Christopher Kelley of the University of Miami-Ohio.
The first signing statement was issued by James Monroe... at issue was, yes... you guessed it, the military:[In] reality the first use of the signing statement was done by President James Monroe. President Monroe issued a statement regarding interpretation of a law he had signed a month earlier. The law both reduced the size of the army and laid out how the president would select new officers. Monroe had gotten criticism from Congress for not abiding by the congressional demand to appoint officers, instead arguing in his signing statement that the president, not the Congress, had the constitutional responsibility of appointing officers.
Another signing statement (which to me seems to be an overreach by the executive, since it dealt with "interstate" commerce and had a tenuous relationship to the military) was issued by President Roosevelt:
Now, I know that this is the heart of the matter. The Left fails to recognize that we are at war... until they recognize this fact, we will find few things on which to agree.
And Bill Clinton's assistant Attorney General, Walter Dellinger, made the following statement to Abner Mikva regarding signing statements:[the P]resident has enhanced responsibility to resist unconstitutional provisions that encroach upon the constitutional powers of the Presidency. Where the President believes that an enactment unconstitutionally limits his powers, he has the authority to defend his office and decline to abide by it, unless he is convinced that he court would disagree with his assessment…[I]f resolution in the courts is unlikely and the President cannot look to a judicial determination, he must shoulder the responsibility of protecting the constitutional role of the presidencyAnd finally, even President Carter used a signing statement to invalidate portions of a law that he disagreed with:For example, in the “Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, the Judiciary, and related agencies for fiscal year1978”5, an amendment was added that prohibited “the use of funds under this Act to carry out [President Carter’s] amnesty program [for the Vietnam War draft resisters].” When President Carter signed the law, he noted his objection to the amendment because it interfered with his pardon power, was an unconstitutional bill of attainder, and denied due process of the law. To carry out the pardon, President Carter would have to process all of the re-entry applications for those draft resisters that left the country. Even though the Justice Department announced that the restriction would prevent the re-entry of many of the draft resisters, in the end the Carter administration ignored the amendment and processed all of the applications.
But, I should know better... these inconvenient truths will be cast aside when the target of the criticism is Chimpy W. McBushitler!
ARC: St Wendeler