Bush’s Signing Statements: The Top 10 List
Posted on Jul 11, 2006
A blogger surfaced The Boston Globe’s list of President Bush’s most egregious use of signing statements (the “interpretations” Bush makes of about-to-be-signed bills to avoid following the laws’ intent). Worst one: Bush asserts a right to waive the torture ban if doing so will prevent terrorist attacks.
On April 20, 2006 the Boston Globe broke the story of President Bush’s extensive use of signing statements, in a front page piece, “Bush Challenges Hundreds of Laws”, under the byline of Charlie Savage.
There was a text box in the story which was not included in the online version of the story, summarizing the most significant signing statement instances. (It is available in the Globe online, if you know just how to search for it.)
In the interests of wider accessibility and future preservation, here’s the list.
Examples of the president’s signing statements
Since taking office in 2001, President Bush has issued signing statements on more than 750 new laws, declaring that he has the power to set aside the laws when they conflict with his legal interpretation. The federal government is instructed to follow the statements when it enforces the laws. Here are 10 examples and the dates Bush signed them:
March 9, 2006: Justice Department officials must give reports to Congress by certain dates on how the FBI is using the USA Patriot Act to search homes and secretly seize papers.
Bush’s signing statement: The president can order Justice Department officials to withhold any information from Congress if he decides it could impair national security or executive branch operations.