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May 02, 2006

Comments

It is interesting to see what modern presidents do with the office.
Here is a statistical extract from the Globe article.
MONTHLY AVERAGE NUMBER OF PRESIDENTIAL SIGNING MEMOS:
Bush II averages 11.7 laws/month to which he attaches a signing memo.
Bush I averaged 4.8 such signing memos/month.
Cinton averaged 1.5 signing memos/month.

There is a lot of politics here, and it includes more than just presidents ignoring constitutional separation of powers, more than deciding to acquiesce to congress, or refusing to obey laws. Some presidents sent cases to the Supreme Court to try to get precedents developed supporting autocratic executive policy; Attorney General Meese embarked on this course around 1986 during Reagan's second term. One part of the Globe article available on the paper's website describes what may have been Alito's demurer when Meese pressed for a strategy to advance the signing memo ploy: Alito's advice, Congress will get riled unless you only use the signing memo for the weakest gaps in laws upon signing.
As you know there is a renewed attempt ongoing in Congress now for the president to request direct authorization from Congress to have a lineitem veto. This is, to me, what is behind the media discussion; and I doubt, though it is an abstruse niche in the law, that the public or their representatives would allow it to happen.
Maybe this is part of the reason Rove was recategorized recently, knowing in advance that yet another doomed policy was about to fall flat in congress.
Congress loves its pork barrel omnibus events; but I doubt the Supreme Court, even this Supreme Court, would support the constitutionality of the lineitem veto for the president.
There is talk on some legal blogs about the lower courts taking guidance from presidential signing memos.
Additionally, a leading authority on signing memos recently has published news of alteration of the way the search engine works on the website which houses all the signing memoranda. Gotta say one thing, this administration seems to have some deft technical people, though maybe it is a bug they are working to patch.
There is a lot of research to do on your four part series, when I have time. I appreciate your posting the main body of the Boston Globe article.
Our local NY Times subsidiary tucked the same article into two segments, leaving a dry text introduction on page one; burying a nifty graphic with the rest of the long essay in the back pages, a Susan Walsh AP photo of Bush signing the 2003 tax law, which was much more impactful than the Reuters wide angle photo the Globe used; though both photographs were professionally composed, I liked the Walsh closeup of Bush, a much younger looking Frist, and three other congresspeople; evidently, though, the AP shot is in the pay archive, though I looked for a link.

It is interesting to see what modern presidents do with the office.
Here is a statistical extract from the Globe article.
MONTHLY AVERAGE NUMBER OF PRESIDENTIAL SIGNING MEMOS:
Bush II averages 11.7 laws/month to which he attaches a signing memo.
Bush I averaged 4.8 such signing memos/month.
Cinton averaged 1.5 signing memos/month.

There is a lot of politics here, and it includes more than just presidents ignoring constitutional separation of powers, more than deciding to acquiesce to congress, or refusing to obey laws. Some presidents sent cases to the Supreme Court to try to get precedents developed supporting autocratic executive policy; Attorney General Meese embarked on this course around 1986 during Reagan's second term. One part of the Globe article available on the paper's website describes what may have been Alito's demurer when Meese pressed for a strategy to advance the signing memo ploy: Alito's advice, Congress will get riled unless you only use the signing memo for the weakest gaps in laws upon signing.
As you know there is a renewed attempt ongoing in Congress now for the president to request direct authorization from Congress to have a lineitem veto. This is, to me, what is behind the media discussion; and I doubt, though it is an abstruse niche in the law, that the public or their representatives would allow it to happen.
Maybe this is part of the reason Rove was recategorized recently, knowing in advance that yet another doomed policy was about to fall flat in congress.
Congress loves its pork barrel omnibus events; but I doubt the Supreme Court, even this Supreme Court, would support the constitutionality of the lineitem veto for the president.
There is talk on some legal blogs about the lower courts taking guidance from presidential signing memos.
Additionally, a leading authority on signing memos recently has published news of alteration of the way the search engine works on the website which houses all the signing memoranda. Gotta say one thing, this administration seems to have some deft technical people, though maybe it is a bug they are working to patch.
There is a lot of research to do on your four part series, when I have time. I appreciate your posting the main body of the Boston Globe article.
Our local NY Times subsidiary tucked the same article into two segments, leaving a dry text introduction on page one; burying a nifty graphic with the rest of the long essay in the back pages, a Susan Walsh AP photo of Bush signing the 2003 tax law, which was much more impactful than the Reuters wide angle photo the Globe used; though both photographs were professionally composed, I liked the Walsh closeup of Bush, a much younger looking Frist, and three other congresspeople; evidently, though, the AP shot is in the pay archive, though I looked for a link.

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Sorry, Typepad seemed to freeze, so the upload occurred in duplicate.
J.

I would like to see some good tactical thinking on how the issue of the signing statements could be made an issue in forthcoming congressional and senate races. It strikes me that the question of whether a Congreswscritter has guts could be illustrated by what he would propose doing to make the laws that congress passes (mostly after long negotiations in conference committee) actually the laws of the land?

To do it, you might need a nation-wide TV ad campaign telling the truth of the 750 signing statements, and then asking whether candidates had positions on this? Then local parties could use local assets to press for answers -- say Letters to the Editors campaigns, questions at campaign efents, and all the rest. This would have the effect of making the campaign "about Bush" but on the voting level -- about congressional campaigns.

And while I don't expect all that many African Americans to go out and vote for Bush -- it would be interesting to see Op-Ed pieces in the Black Press -- and perhaps an attack by the Black Caucus on the Affirmative Action matters. Those have nothing at all to do with National Security.

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