Proving (yet again) that he is a deeply silly man who is in way over his head when the Constitution is the subject, Arlen Specter has disgorged himself of some ill-digested thoughts on executive power in the New York Review of Books (lv David Freddoso at The Corner). I couldn’t get past the amazing stupidity of this sentence beginning his fourth paragraph:
Further, I will reintroduce my legislation from 2006 and 2007 (the “Presidential Signing Statements Act”) to prohibit courts from relying on, or deferring to, presidential signing statements when determining the meaning of any Act of Congress.
Even Arlen Specter ought to understand that it is not possible, under the Constitution, to constrain by law the choice of materials employed by the courts in the course of explicating the meaning of statutes, or of the Constitution. If a signing statement sheds useful light, it just does, and this Specter Act could not possibly prevent a court from acting in a way guided by that light. What next: an act to ban citations to Blackstone, or to Black’s Law Dictionary?
Was it Richard Feynman who would say of the most outlandish statements in science that they were “not even wrong”? That’s the relation of Arlen Specter to the Constitution. As the Scrapbook at the Weekly Standard might say, at this point it became an article I couldn’t finish.
UPDATE: No, it wasn’t Richard Feynman. It was Wolfgang Pauli.