Bench Memos

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ABA Report on Presidential Signing Statements


According to various press reports, the stacked ABA panel that ABA president Michael Greco assembled to examine President Bush’s use of signing statements will today issue its report criticizing that use.  I’ll defer extended comment until I’ve reviewed the report, but the indications from the early press accounts are that the panel badly confuses judicial supremacy with separation of powers:  According to this Washington Post article, the ABA report asserts that “The President’s constitutional duty is to enforce laws he has signed into being unless and until they are held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court or a subordinate tribunal.”  So much for the presidential oath of office. 


For a serious and thorough analysis of the signing-statement issue—from a liberal whose academic work leans heavily towards Congress in disputes over presidential vs. congressional power, see the 1993 OLC opinion by Walter Dellinger, President Clinton’s head of OLC, that I quote from (and link to) here


Tags: Whelan


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