What is a Signing Statement?
A Singing Statement is a presidential message that may accompany the act of fulfiling the constitutional authority of the President to sign legislation passed Congress. Signign statements increased in importance under President George W. Bush because he has failed to use his constitutional authority to veto legislation and has instead prefaced his signing of legislation with instant interpretations and/or policy complaints.
In his 2002 book, By Order of the President: The Use and Abuse of Executive Direct Action, Phillip Cooper counted Bush making 23 signing statements in 2001, another 34 singing statements in 2002 (raising 168 constitutional issues); another 27 signing statements in 2003 (raising 142 constitutional issues), and another 23 signing statements in 2004 (raising 175 constitutional issues). For all the tough talk from this president, he is more given to kvetching than stand-up direct confrontataion with otehr power holders. What can you expect from a guy who had to have Dick Cheney hold his hand throughout his appearance before Congress?
- "The board of governors of the American Bar Association voted unanimously yesterday to investigate whether President Bush has exceeded his constitutional authority in reserving the right to ignore more than 750 laws that have been enacted since he took office." - Bar group will review Bush's legal challenges by Charlie Savage, Boston Globe, June 4, 2006.
- Presidential Signing Statements 2001-2006: George W. Bush. Browsable and searchable compendium of the full texts to date, plus links to the Congressional acts to which they refer. Database
- John W. Dean. "The Problem with Presidential Signing Statements: Their Use and Misuse by the Bush Administration." Findlaw. January 13, 2006. article
- Diary on proposed investigation by the ABA.
- Laurence Tribe on the ABA Signing Statements Report
- GAO Report: Bush Admin Broke Law on 'Signing Statements'