Following up on yesterdays post on how the American Bar Association denounced Bush's unprecedented use of "signing Statements (Story), Republican Senator Specter is planning to introduce a bill that would allow Congress to sue the president for the use of the signing statements. The issue is that Bush attaches statements to bills that state that he will not follow, or will interpret the bills passed by congress to his own liking. The constitutionality of the signing statements is very suspect since the president is supposed to enforce the laws passed by congress, and not make up his own laws (as he seems to really like to do).
The bill to be introduced by Specter would allow congress to sue the president in federal court in order to determine the constitutionality of the signing statements. For example, the presidents statement that he will not adhere to a ban on torture would be examined as to if the signing statement was in conflict with the law. If it is in conflict, than the signing statement would be thrown out and Bush would be held to enforce the law without exception.
Sen. Specter readies bill to sue Bush
WASHINGTON (AP) — A powerful Republican committee chairman who has led the fight against President Bush's signing statements said Monday he would have a bill ready by the end of the week allowing Congress to sue him in federal court.
"We will submit legislation to the United States Senate which will...authorize the Congress to undertake judicial review of those signing statements with the view to having the president's acts declared unconstitutional," Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said on the Senate floor.
Specter's announcement came the same day that an American Bar Association task force concluded that by attaching conditions to legislation, the president has sidestepped his constitutional duty to either sign a bill, veto it, or take no action.
Bush has issued at least 750 signing statements during his presidency, reserving the right to revise, interpret or disregard laws on national security and constitutional grounds.
"That non-veto hamstrings Congress because Congress cannot respond to a signing statement," said ABA president Michael Greco. The practice, he added "is harming the separation of powers."