2006 April 30

Boston Globe Exposes President Bush’s Abuse of Signing Statements


A Pulitzer Prize-winning article by reporter Charlie Savage in the Boston Globe exposed President George W. Bush’s abuse of signing statements, in which he repeatedly claimed constitutional authority not to enforce certain portions of many laws.

Signing statements had been used since the first presidents, but they generally celebrated positive accomplishments such as a new law. Bush’s claims, however, represented an unprecedented grab of presidential power and were related to the obsessive secrecy on the part of the administration in the so-called War on Terror.

Edwin Meese, Attorney General for President Ronald Reagan, was primarily responsible for maneuvering to elevate the status of Signing Statements (July 7, 1986).

Read a sampling of Bush Signing Statements: http://www.coherentbabble.com/listGWBall.htm

Read the book by the reporter who exposed Bush’s Signing Statements: Charlie Savage, Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy (2007)

Find a compilation of (almost) all signing statements by all the presidents at The American Presidency Project:  http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/signingstatements.php


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