Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bush Ignores Hundreds of Laws

By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff April 30, 2006

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.

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Far more than any predecessor, Bush has been aggressive about declaring his right to ignore vast swaths of laws.

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''There is no question that this administration has been involved in a very carefully thought-out, systematic process of expanding presidential power at the expense of the other branches of government," Cooper said. ''This is really big, very expansive, and very significant."

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Bush administration spokesmen declined to make White House or Justice Department attorneys available to discuss any of Bush's challenges to the laws he has signed.

Instead, they referred a Globe reporter to their response to questions about Bush's position that he could ignore provisions of the Patriot Act. They said at the time that Bush was following a practice that has ''been used for several administrations" and that ''the president will faithfully execute the law in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution."

But the words ''in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution" are the catch, legal scholars say, because Bush is according himself the ultimate interpretation of the Constitution. And he is quietly exercising that authority to a degree that is unprecedented in US history.

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.

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4 comments:

Shaw Kenawe said...

great post! The Felon in Chief.

It doesn't get any worse than this, my friend.

But wasn't Steven Colbert awesome?????

james said...

Shaw:

Oh Colbert was on fire. The fact that there was more silence then laughs means that he was even more on target. He's the man.

Tommy Gnosis said...

How is it that these "signing statements" are not unconsitutional?? We elect a president in this republic of ours; not a king. I simply fail to understand this.

james said...

Paolo:

Yeah just when I think he's gone wayyy too far he keeps on going and people just keep on letting him. It' maddening. Makes me wonder if a mass, protest revolution is the only thing that will get our government back.

We rid ourselves of one King George back in the day and now is the time to do it again.

IMPEACHMENT NOW!!!!