Just to keep everyone updated on Obama’s use of the dread signing statements:
Legal scholars said the administration’s new approach, which avoids repeating claims of executive power that the White House has previously voiced, could avoid setting off fights with lawmakers. But the approach will make it harder to keep track of which statutes the White House believes it can disregard, or to compare the number of laws challenged by President Obama with former President George W. Bush’s record.
Yes, that’s right, rather than telling us what portions of laws it thinks are unconstitutional as the Bush administration did, Obama notes what portions are unconstitutional and then keeps that information under wraps, reserving the right not to enforce certain sections of the laws without telling the public as much.
Lots of us defended signing statements as little more than the administration’s public pronouncement of its opinion of the finer points of certain legislation. “Tyranny!” came the response. “Abuse of executive privilege!” “Like George III all over again!”
I ask you, which executive abuses its authority: the one who gives to the public its opinion on the law, or the one who doesn’t and merely lets the public guess? Signing statements were a step forward for executive transparency, but those who spent 8 years decrying them as the spearpoint of Caesarism have gotten their way. Perhaps it’ll be better to sit in the dark surrounded by unseen cockroaches rather than to turn on the lights and see the filth.