A group of GOP lawmakers sent a letter on Friday to President Obama urging him to re-sign the Patriot Act with his own hand after using an autopen.
The letter comes a few weeks after Rep. Tom GravesTom GravesRepublican Study Committee elders back Harris for chairman House votes to keep lawmaker pay freeze in place Lobbying World MORE (R-Ga.) questioned whether using the automated signing machine was legally the same as Obama signing the bill himself. Graves is one of the authors of the letter to Obama.
"On May 27, 2011, Congressman Tom Graves wrote you to request an explanation for your constitutional authority to assign a surrogate the responsibility of signing bills passed by Congress into law," the letter reads. "As of today, Congressman Graves has yet to receive a response from the White House."
"Mr. President, it is clear that assigning a surrogate the responsibility of signing bills passed by Congress is a debatable issue, and could be challenged in court," the letter continues. "That being the case, our request is that, out of an abundance of caution, you affix your signature to S. 990 by personally re-signing the enrolled bill."
The lawmakers also request that Obama work to end the practice of using the autopen to authorize bills.
When Graves originally questioned the authority of using an autopen to sign a bill, he cited Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution, which says a president has to sign a bill for it to go into law.
In 2005, the Bush administration's Office of Legal Counsel
argued that using an autopen was consistent with the Constitution.
In the letter, the Republican lawmakers cite a number of dissenting opinions.
"While the July 7, 2005, opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) to President George W. Bush on using a surrogate to sign bills into law was apparently the basis for your decision, we are compelled to point out that the memorandum provides a long list of dissenting opinions," the letter says.
Read the letter below: