Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bush's Use of Authority Riles Senator

There was a time when I would defer judgement to reporters and editors, figuring they had the experience and education to get things right. After dipping my toes into the blogopond for the past few years, I know that this deference can be a mistake.
Senators on the Judiciary Committee accused President Bush of an "unprecedented" and "astonishing" power grab on Tuesday for making use of a device that gave him the authority to revise or ignore more than 750 laws enacted since he became president.

(Emphasis added.)
This is a pretty sickening choice of words. Bush is claiming this authority, but it sure as hell wasn't given to him. There is no "except when the president doesn't feel like it" clause in the Constituion.

If you are looking for a primer on the issue of signing statements, this article is most definitely not it. Go read Froomkin, or Greenwald, or the Boston Globe guy, but not this article.
By using what are known as signing statements, memorandums issued with legislation as he signs it, the president has reserved the right to not enforce any laws he thinks violate the Constitution or national security, or that impair foreign relations.

(Again, emphasis added.)
Bush is not reserving the right to not enforce laws. He is claiming that right, in the face of any reasonable, straightforward, non-Bush-licking reading of the Constitution.

This article could be used in journalism classes as an example of the limitations of (1) waiting for a news peg to tell a story and (2) the he said-she said construction.

Everyone's a media critic now, isn't it great?!


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