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Mickey Edwards Responds


In a recent L. A. Times op-ed, former Republican congressman Mickey Edwards complained that Republicans on the House judiciary committee had not objected to President Bush’s use of signing statements but “later found the same practice unlawful when a Democratic president did it.” I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, and said so in this space. Edwards has now sent me an email attempting to clarify what he meant while also taking a few digs at me. “[Y]ou would think NR would have sufficient staff to do at least cursory fact checking before going to print with something,” etc.

Edwards notes that House Republicans unanimously voted for an amendment to rebuke one of Obama’s signing statements. But that vote hardly makes Edwards’s case. It doesn’t mean that the Republicans were characterizing Obama’s issuing of signing statements as “unlawful.” As I pointed out in my previous post, one can object to a particular signing statement without objecting to signing statements in principle–just as one can object to particular vetoes without objecting to presidential vetoes in principle. The inconsistency Edwards is alleging isn’t there.


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