Bar Association agrees with us on Bush's signing statements

I thought you would find useful this update on an issue that Green Mountain PAC members have been focused on. For the past several months, we’ve been speaking out against President Bush’s egregious use of signing statements to thwart the will of Congress and undermine the Constitutional separation of powers. Today I’m pleased to report that more and more Americans -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- are reaching the same conclusion and demanding that President Bush stop this abuse of power.

Yesterday, a bipartisan, 11-member panel from the American Bar Association issued a report that calls on President Bush to end his use of signing statements to disregard all or parts of laws that he disagrees with. If you want to read the report, please click here.

This was just an initial review. Now the panel's recommendations must be ratified at the ABA's annual meeting next month, which will build more momentum in our effort to rein in this out-of-control Bush Administration.

I have commended the ABA panel for their recommendations to end President Bush's signing statements -- and have urged the full American Bar Association to adopt them.

The ABA's task force calls the use of signing statements "contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers." I couldn't agree more.

The President's signing statements are not the law, and Congress -- even a Republican-controlled Congress -- should not allow them to be the last word. The President's constitutional duty is to faithfully execute the laws as written by the Congress, not cherry-pick the laws he chooses to follow.

If President Bush disagrees with the substance of a bill passed by Congress, he has a remedy -- the veto. And as George Washington said, a President "must approve all the parts of a bill, or reject it in toto." Then Congress has the opportunity to override that veto by a two-thirds vote.

Through the use of signing statements, President Bush is trying to have his cake and eat it too. He decides what parts of various laws he will enforce without issuing a veto, and therefore deprives Congress of the opportunity to override his veto.

This isn't what our nation's founders had in mind when they set up our three co-equal branches of government. I'm pleased that the ABA commission reached this same conclusion -- and I hope the full ABA membership agrees.

President Bush's power-grab is an unacceptable threat to our constitutional system of checks and balances, and the ABA's initial review lends support to the very real concerns that I, and others in Congress, have expressed for some time.


Patrick Leahy U.S. Senator

P.S. The ABA annual meeting, where the commission's recommendations will be debated and voted upon, is next month. I will keep you informed of developments on this issue.

Invite your friends and family to join Senator Leahy's Green Mountain PAC today!

Informant: Bugs


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