If you thought no one in this country was above the law, including the President of the United States, well, think again, friends!
If George Bush doesn't care for a particular aspect of a bill that he's just signed into law, he simply declares himself King and says, via a "signing statement," that he's not obligated to follow the law.
Bush has used signing statements 750 times to declare himself exempt from the laws of our land.
For example, he signed John McCain's anti-torture bill (banning the torture of detainees), and added a signing statement onto the bill, saying he did not feel compelled to follow it.
When Bush signed the re-authorization of the Patriot Act, he attached a signing statement saying he did not feel bound to follow a provision of the Act, which provided for congressional oversight of FBI searches for terrorists.
The problem is not that Bush issues signing statements. Presidential signing statements have been around for a long time now, and many Presidents have used them. The problem is what Bush says in his signing statements.
Past Presidents have used signing statements to simply wax poetic on the legislation they are signing. For example, they'll use a signing statement to thank the sponsors and co-sponsors of the bill they are signing. They might even use signing statements to state reservations about portions of the bill. They don't declare themselves exempt from it. And thereinlies the problem with Bush's signing statements.
What's also interesting is that Bush has yet to issue a single veto. He has never vetoed legislation sent to him by the Congress. He simply declares himself exempt from following it.
If George Bush really believes we should torture detainees, then he needs to veto anti-torture legislation. If he believes that the executive branch should not be subject to oversight from the legislative branch, he needs to say so by issuing a veto of legislation that says the opposite.
And so one is compelled to ask: Is Bush afraid to let the American people know how he really feels about the hot-botton issues of our time? Is that what is behind these signing statements?
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