Jake Tapper reports:
The president in his signing statement declares that he will not abide by it.“The President has well-established authority to supervise and oversee the executive branch, and to obtain advice in furtherance of this supervisory authority,” he wrote. “The President also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it. Legislative efforts that significantly impede the President’s ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the President’s ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
Therefore, the president wrote, “the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these Presidential prerogatives.”
Hot Air’s Allahpundit objects to this unbridled abuse of presidential power, and states further that “He’s been using signing statements for a long time now, but I’m not sure there’s ever been an example this egregious.”
That second link goes to a January post by Ed Morrissey in which Ed, in turn, links to an ABC News article about Obama’s use of signing statements — specifically, about the possibility that the Obama administration would “formally object,” via a signing statement, “to a provision [attached to a defense authorization bill] that would prohibit the use of any funds to transfer detainees from the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay to the United States for any purpose.” However, if you scroll down that article, you find this:
Obama’s use of signing statements so far in his administration has been in line with other presidents from Reagan to Clinton, who each issued about a dozen constitutional challenges a year. It was the George W. Bush administration that used the statements much more frequently when it thought legislation might negatively impact presidential power.
Obama issued a memo in March 2009 to the heads of all executive branch departments and agencies, saying he would continue to use the signing statements but would do so more sparingly than the Bush administration.
“I will issue signing statements to address constitutional concerns only when it is appropriate to do so as a means of discharging my constitutional responsibilities,” he wrote.
Signing statements “serve a legitimate function in our system, at least when based on well-founded constitutional objections. In appropriately limited circumstances, they represent an exercise of the president’s constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and they promote a healthy dialogue between the executive branch and the Congress,” Obama wrote.
So Ed and Allahpundit are not really on very solid ground when they argue that Obama was against signing statements before he was for them.
Indeed, as Charlie Savage reported in April 2006, George W. Bush by that date had already attached signing statements to “more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.”
And so far, Pres. Obama has issued… 9 (including today’s).