Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington, routinely reviews legislation bound for the president’s desk, searching for ways that the bills may limit presidential power. More than a quick-hit news item, this article masterly describes Bush’s use of signing statements—interpretations of a law that can be used to subvert a law’s intended purpose.
Earlier: Addington—“The Most Powerful Person You’ve Never Heard Of”
Cheney aide is screening legislation
Adviser seeks to protect Bush power
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | May 28, 2006
WASHINGTON—The office of Vice President Dick Cheney routinely reviews pieces of legislation before they reach the president’s desk, searching for provisions that Cheney believes would infringe on presidential power, according to former White House and Justice Department officials.
The officials said Cheney’s legal adviser and chief of staff, David Addington, is the Bush administration’s leading architect of the ``signing statements” the president has appended to more than 750 laws. The statements assert the president’s right to ignore the laws because they conflict with his interpretation of the Constitution.
The Bush-Cheney administration has used such statements to claim for itself the option of bypassing a ban on torture, oversight provisions in the USA Patriot Act, and numerous requirements that they provide certain information to Congress, among other laws.