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Specter Preparing to Sue Bush in Federal Court Over Signing Statements

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posted on Jul, 24 2006 @ 10:57 PM
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Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa. is preparing documents to present to the Senate for a ruling that President Bush's oft used "signing statements", attached to bills presented to him for signing, are unconstitutional. Specter promised to present the bill by the end of the week.
 



www.comcast.net
WASHINGTON - A powerful Republican committee chairman who has led the fight against President Bush's signing statements said Monday he would have a bill ready by the end of the week allowing Congress to sue him in federal court.

"We will submit legislation to the United States Senate which will...authorize the Congress to undertake judicial review of those signing statements with the view to having the president's acts declared unconstitutional," Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said on the Senate floor.

Specter's announcement came the same day that an American Bar Association task force concluded that by attaching conditions to legislation, the president has sidestepped his constitutional duty to either sign a bill, veto it, or take no action.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


This is a momentus bill. The first real challenge to the legitimacy of the many special powers Bush has claimed in the wake of the WOT.

I will be interested to see how far this goes towards establishing a precedent on which to base further inquiries.

[edit on 24-7-2006 by Icarus Rising]




posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 07:54 AM
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I posted a reference to an article in this post:

ABA Task Force

That describes the American Bar Assoc.'s findings that Bush's signing statements violate the Constitution. With groups on two fronts coming after him maybe we can finally reel this guy in.



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 09:42 AM
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the president has sidestepped his constitutional duty to either sign a bill, veto it, or take no action.


Based on the third tenet in the above quote, those four words alone, "or take no action", make it pretty clear to me that the signing statements are unconstitutional.

Now I think the question is whether the President, in a time of war, mind you, is restricted in his executive powers to the three options quoted above in their exclusivity, as or implies, or if he can justify expansion of his powers to mixing and matching the options (basically a de facto line-item-veto) as he sees fit.

I think the constitution says no. Let's see what the courts say.

[edit on 25-7-2006 by Icarus Rising]



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 10:23 AM
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Signing Statements are nothing new by themselves, they have been used before by previous Presidents and I don’t think they have been directly ruled upon, so to charge Bush just for that is BS. However, some claim that Bush is using signing statements for reasons other than what they were indented for, the White House denies this, so that’s the big question here.



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 11:52 AM
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Sorry for not immediately having a source for this, but I recently saw an article that stated all presidents up to Dubya have used 575 signing statements. To date, Dubya has used 500 himself.

If the ABA is willing to put its weight behind this action, I for one can defer to the legal experts. I doubt they have badly misinterpreted the law.


EDIT: Corrected my numbers.


[edit on 25-7-2006 by MrPenny]



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 12:03 PM
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I think that everyone can pretty much agree that Bush excusing every questionable activity he does with "Hey it's a time of war" has gotten really out of hand and outrageous already.

Good for the Senator and good for the ABA.

The best part about this is that it wasn't the "boo-hoo" reactionary Democrats who did this (read: Kerry, Reid et al) but rather someone from Bush's own party. Realistically speaking the Dems in the Senate were far too caught up in their own "wait, then plan" strategy to accomplish anything.

Hopefully the Senator will be successful in stopping this unconstitutional practice.



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 12:49 PM
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Mr Penny (and others)... if you go to the link in my earlier post above you'll find that the ABA says all presidents prior to Bush used a total of ~600. During his term (so far) Bush has done it 800 times.



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 12:58 PM
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Bush has issued at least 750 signing statements during his presidency, reserving the right to revise, interpret or disregard laws on national security and constitutional grounds.


I know signing statements aren't new, but they have never been so integrated into, and so integral a part of, a package of executive practices that have enabled the President to dictate policy to the degree this administration has.



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 01:04 PM
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A recent op-ed in the Chicago Tribune written by a U of IL law professor, cited the figures I used. While I'm sure we agree the issue is a hot one.....it would be nice to find definitive numbers.



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 01:15 PM
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Originally posted by MrPenny
.....it would be nice to find definitive numbers.


I’m sure it would but numbers are essentially irrelevant to the case, whether used once or a thousand times does not really matter, what matters is how they are used. Once more If Signing Statements are illegal altogether then you can’t fault Bush, he’s just following precedent that was never ruled upon. The only thing you could try to "get" him on would be to say he knowingly used them for illegal and or unconstitutional purposes, and that’s not as cut and dry an issue as most assume.



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 01:26 PM
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You're right WestPoint, the numbers are moot.

The use of the statements appears to be sidestepping the lack of a 'line item veto'. Apparently a signing statement can single out provisions for executive interpretation. Also, the broad wording in the statements leaves a lot to the imagination.



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 04:06 PM
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Great thread!



More/different info from MSN:



Specter’s announcement came the same day that an American Bar Association task force concluded that by attaching conditions to legislation, the president has sidestepped his constitutional duty to either sign a bill, veto it, or take no action. ...Bush has issued at least 750 signing statements during his presidency, reserving the right to revise, interpret or disregard laws on national security and constitutional grounds.

“That non-veto hamstrings Congress because Congress cannot respond to a signing statement,” said ABA president Michael Greco. The practice, he added “is harming the separation of powers.” ...Bush has challenged about 750 statutes passed by Congress, according to numbers compiled by Specter’s committee. The ABA estimated Bush has issued signing statements on more than 800 statutes, more than all other presidents combined.


msnbc.msn.com...





ed to format


[edit on 25-7-2006 by soficrow]



posted on Jul, 25 2006 @ 04:49 PM
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And it comes from his own party side...
that has got to hurt, at least a little...

About time that the presidents artificial power extensions were tamed, since this "war on terror" is really no more of a war, than the preceeding "war on drugs" that served the same purpose...

If we are going to be constantly at war, then we have got to change the war powers, or else give up on the whole "democracy thing" altogether...

who is with me? lets cast that weak institution of freedom and democracy, and go for an all out totalitarian leadership... a basic dictatorship at its best...

quit fudgin around with these outdated concepts of "freedom" bah... who ever enjoyed it anyway... on with the total control by one guy!!!
HOORAH, for our King BUSH, long may he live...

I think i just threw up a little...
sorry for the sarcasm...
after this, lets go after those darned National security directives, that seem to pop up every time the president wants to CHA...



posted on Jul, 26 2006 @ 10:17 AM
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Here's an Op/Ed by Lou Dobbs on the general disregard shown the Constitution by this POTUS:

Flaunting the Constitution



posted on Jul, 26 2006 @ 11:44 AM
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He mentions precedence, due to the last three presidents issuing the same "trade agreements" outside congressional advice...

Well, i tell ya... that cinches it for me... the neo cons have been steering this from Reagons white house... (and has been the same since)
IMHO clinton was a stooge that sang the same tune for his Mena arkansas masters...(the senior bush via illicit drug smuggling, and money scandals they were both part of)

they told us then, "no biggie, it wont set precendence..."
Well guess what buppie... it DID!

so since the Reagon, Bush, Clinton white house screwed us, it is now OK for Bush Jr



posted on Jul, 26 2006 @ 12:41 PM
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Don't despair LTL. Specter is not alone.

The American Bar Association is on the case:




ABA: Bush violating Constitution; signing statements erode democracy

President Bush's penchant for writing exceptions to laws he has just signed violates the Constitution, an American Bar Association task force says in a report highly critical of the practice. ...The ABA group, which includes a one-time FBI director and former federal appeals court judge, said the president has overstepped his authority in attaching challenges to hundreds of new laws. ...The attachments, known as bill-signing statements, say Bush reserves a right to revise, interpret or disregard measures on national security and constitutional grounds.

"This report raises serious concerns crucial to the survival of our democracy," said the ABA's president, Michael Greco. "If left unchecked, the president's practice does grave harm to the separation of powers doctrine, and the system of checks and balances that have sustained our democracy for more than two centuries."

The task force said the statements suggest the president will decline to enforce some laws. Bush has had more than 800 signing statement challenges, compared with about 600 signing statements combined for all other presidents, the group said.





Wonder what they want? And what it will cost?




posted on Jul, 26 2006 @ 01:10 PM
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Arlen Sphincter is a Republican in name only; he may as well just change sides. That the (somewhat Communist) ABA has joined the fray is no great surprise.
I believe Arlen is using this to test the waters for running for President (HA HA good luck).

The signing statements are not enforceable, have no legal weight, and it does not imply that Bush is not going to enforce the law. They are basically just little notes that he writes into the margin pertaining to constitutionality, or things he otherwise questions or has concerns about. It is merely a way to go on record as to his opinions, as many judges have said.

[edit on 26-7-2006 by zappafan1]



posted on Jul, 26 2006 @ 01:32 PM
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No legal weight, like the Torture Bill, when Bush's signing statement was done with it?



When President Bush last week signed the bill outlawing the torture of detainees, he quietly reserved the right to bypass the law under his powers as commander in chief.

After approving the bill last Friday, Bush issued a ''signing statement" -- an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law -- declaring that he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. This means Bush believes he can waive the restrictions, the White House and legal specialists said.

A senior administration official, who spoke to a Globe reporter about the statement on condition of anonymity because he is not an official spokesman, said the president intended to reserve the right to use harsher methods in special situations involving national security.

link


These signing statements clearly do interfere with the reach and impact of the legislative branch in its efforts to pass laws and have the executive branch enact legislation. As previously stated, Congress has no recourse against a signing statement. An outright veto can be overturned.



posted on Jul, 26 2006 @ 03:34 PM
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by Icarus Rising:
No legal weight, like the Torture Bill, when Bush's signing statement was done with it?

These signing statements clearly do interfere with the reach and impact of the legislative branch in its efforts to pass laws and have the executive branch enact legislation. As previously stated, Congress has no recourse against a signing statement. An outright veto can be overturned.


REPLY: I'm not an attorney, 'nor have I played one on TV. I didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn last night. However, I would suppose what you mention would be two different things. In any case, the federal judges could be contacted pertaining to the validity of your question.



posted on Jul, 26 2006 @ 03:46 PM
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Originally posted by zappafan1
Arlen Sphincter is a Republican in name only; he may as well just change sides. That the (somewhat Communist) ABA has joined the fray is no great surprise.
I believe Arlen is using this to test the waters for running for President (HA HA good luck).


Out of curiosity, since this is such a hard and difficult problem for you, can you supply everyone with organizations that you feel are not biased, so that when they turn against everything Bush does wrong, you can't pop up and now call them communist, or "republican in name only"?

Also, what true difference does it make if Arlen Specter is a Democrat or a Republican for a law suit? And now the ABA is "somewhat communist?" Oh that's right, activist judges, I suppose. Is there anything that George W. Bush can do wrong in your eyes, or is he above wrongdoing, and a perfect human to you?


Of course, maybe you're right. Maybe the American Bar Associate has absolutely no idea what they're talking about when they discuss law.

Just let your president keep on thinking he can do what he pleases and corrupt the separation of powers as much as possible. It will be all the easier for the American population to say "buh bye, couldn't be soon enough" come 2008.



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