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Signing Statements: Line Item Vetoes

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Veto is ability for a president to avoid saying yes or no to an entire bill.

A line item veto would allow the president to selectively sign and rejects parts of a bill. The founders decided against allowing line item vetoes, thereby forcing the president to veto an entire bill and send it back to Congress to find compromises.

President Bush

President Bush’s use of signing statements. Congressional-presidential relations. Constitutional law. Presidential signing statements are qualitatively different under Bush than in past and now present a threat to balance between Congress and the presidency. Many of them are the very controversial types. Stems from a belief that Congress cannot infringe (encroach) on powers, both inherent and implied, granted in Article II. This ties into the theory of the “unitary executive” which holds that Congress does not have the right to control the executive branch.

News Coverage

Congressional Study Says Executive Branch Strays from Laws' Intent After 'Signing Statements'
ii. Bush asserts authority to bypass defense act
iii. Legal Group Says Bush Undermines Law by Ignoring Select Parts of Bills
iv. 'Signing Statements' Study Finds Administration Has Ignored Laws

American Bar Association Blue Ribbon Task-Force

Kathy Mathis, President of the ABA

Bruce Fein: Associate deputy attorney general from 1981-2 and General Counsel to the F.C.C. (appointed by President Reagan)

William Sessions, Director of the FBI (appointed by President Reagan)

Congressional Research Service: Presidential Signing Statements: Constitutional and Institutional Implications