US Presidential “Signing Statements”

Yesterday’s International Herald Tribune had an interesting article on President Bush’s use of ‘signing statements’. I had not previously heard of this device by which Presidents can indicate disagreement with particular provisions of legislation which they are otherwise endorsing and apparently then disregard those provisions. These statements seem much like the reservations which countries make when entering into treaties but are not something I had come across at the domestic level. Googling “signing statements presidential” provides a plethora of references discussing the historical use of the statements (W is by no means the first to use them) and their significance.


  1. Ah Nick – Slaw was there ahead of you:

    Yesterday the ABA released a blue-ribbon panel report on the practice .
    The news release is less daunting, but the best single piece was the Elizabeth Drew article in the New York Review of Books.

  2.’s war room published a brief comment about this back in january, referring to this article from the boston globe.

    though i read much of my news online, good newspaper reporting (and reporters) are still critical to feed the blogosphere.

  3. Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter introduced legislation on Wednesday to challenge President George W. Bush’s assertion that he can bypass sections of bills that he signs into law.

    Judiciary Committee Chairman Specter’s bill would empower Congress bring to federal court lawsuits to test the constitutionality of Bush’s signing statements, which the president has appended to several bills he has signed.