Presidential Signing Statements Undermine Checks And Balances

I was asked to make available a report issued today by an American Bar Association task force on presidential signing statements. I asked this bipartisan group of constitutional experts and former government officials to examine whether presidents can sign new laws, but then issue statements saying they do not intend to enforce all or part of them.

This group found that presidents of both parties have used this tactic with increasing aggressiveness in the last 25 years, in ways that thwart the will of Congress and undermine our delicate system of checks and balances. I was especially gratified that the task force, which includes several conservatives including former Oklahoma Congressman Mickey Edwards, all agreed that the president can’t pick or choose what parts of a law he likes. He must sign or veto it as a whole.

I urge you to look at the report, prepared by the American Bar Association Task Force on Presidential Signing Statements and the Separation of Powers Doctrine.

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