As With Exceptions for Powerful Lobbyists, Obama Retains the Infamous Power of Bush to Issue Signing Statements

Much like his Orwellian about-face on appointing influential lobbyists to carry on biz as usual in the White House and at the Pentagon, among other places, President Obama has opted to retain the hated Bush power of "signing statements" ... And what are those? Bush would often issue written direction to his appointees in federal agencies to ignore provisions in law passed by Congress, while citing the Constitution as a basis for doing so.

Though Obama signed a memorandum negating the old Bush signing statements by telling the agencies not to follow them without consulting DOJ in advance, he nevertheless failed to end the policy. Rather he reserved his "right" to issue signing statements should the need arise. As Andrew Cohen at CBS put it:
... the Obama White House sacrificed a measure of principle to achieve a form of pragmatism. In both cases, it reversed the practical import of Bush policy but kept for itself the option of reversing back yet again should circumstances require it.

But "pragmatism" that benefits who? I cannot use that as a basis for excusing Obama (like Cohen does), not when it comes as an excuse to potentially abuse power ... But will he? Time will answer.

For a comprehensive look at how and why signing statements become an abuse of presidential authority, please read the American Bar Association study that opposes Bush-like signing statements (very interesting and full of history!)

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