Obama Instructs His Administration Not to Rely on Bush's Signing Statements

Obama said he will employ the use of signing statements sparingly.

The New York Times’ Charlie Savage writes that President Obama has instructed his administration not to rely on any of Bush’s signing statements, calling into question their legitimacy:

In his directive, Mr. Obama said that any signing statement issued before his presidency should be viewed with doubt, placing an asterisk beside all of those issued by Mr. Bush and other former presidents.

“To ensure that all signing statements previously issue are followed only when consistent with these principles, executive branch departments and agencies are directed to seek the advice of the Attorney General before relying on signing statements issued prior to the date of this memorandum as the basis for disregarding, or otherwise refusing to comply with, and provision of a statute,” he wrote.

Obama said he will employ the use of signing statements sparingly, doing so when “Congress sends him legislation that has provisions he decides are unconstitutional.” Savage notes that Obama’s new directive is “consistent with what he said during the 2008 presidential campaign.”

Faiz Shakir is the Research Director at the Center for American Progress and serves as Editor of and The Progress Report.
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