15 February 2008

Blah Blah Blah

So the congress expresses the will of the people (theoretically at least) when it passes legislation. Recently, the fine men and women of the Legislature carried out their constitutional duty by passing a humongous $688 billion dollar spending bill for National Defense (HR 4986).
Section 1222 of the bill stipulates:

No funds appropriated pursuant to an authorization of appropriations in
this Act may be obligated or expended for a purpose as follows:
(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the
permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.
(2) To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.

And that should be that, right? Oh no, mon ami, not in the constitutional looking glass world of President Unitary Bush.
Somehow, section 1222 "imposes requirements that could inhibit the President's ability to carry out his constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to protect national security, to supervise the executive branch, and to execute his authority as Commander in Chief."

So the congress, pursuant to Article I, Section 8, Clauses 12, 14 & 16, states in terms about as concise as can be expected in a piece of legislation, that no funds may be used to build a military base in Iraq.

The president has no authority, in (unitary) theory or in (constitutional) fact, to disregard the express will of the legislature in an area so clearly under the authority of the legislature. If the president were to care truly about "carry[ing] out his constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed," he would stop this incessant nonsense of issuing signing statements carving out sections of duly passed legislation and stipulating that he has the authority as the unitary executive to disregard the law.

Clinton v New York reinforces, in rejecting the line-item veto, what the constitution states pretty clearly--that the president has two choices upon being presented a bill, sign it (and then take care to execute the law faithfully) or veto it.

The ABA recently issued a statement regarding Bush's use of signing statements and the Cato Institute has also put out a paper on his pissing on the constitution generally and mentions his use of signing statements specifically.

UPDATE: I just found that the Daily Show noticed the same thing, they just did it succinctly and humorously:

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