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Monday, July 03, 2006

Bush's Silent Vetoes

Investigate this issue!Anti Torture      Officially, President Bush has not vetoed a single piece of legislation. But in reality, he has used a radical theory of constitutional power to ignore much of what Congress has passed through the mild-sounding power of "signing statements" -- 750 of which he has issued during his term in office, more than any of his predecessors.

Essentially, this means that when the President signs a bill into law, he attaches a statement indicating which pieces of the new law he intends to obey, and which he does not. This practice gives the President unchecked power to decide which parts of the law will be followed based on his interpretation of their constitutionality.

Take, for example, Senator McCain's anti-torture amendment to the defense appropriations bill last December. President Bush's signing statement indicated that he would construe that law "consistent with the constitutional authority...of the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief..." In ordinary language, this means that the President reserves the right to put on his military cap and torture anyone he pleases.

It is time for Congress to defend the laws it has passed -- as well as our Constitution. Tell your representative and senator that you elected them to pass legislation, and that you do not approve of signing statements where Mr. Bush is too cowardly to veto legislation. Tell them also that you expect them to not only speak out, but to use their legal standing to sue the President when he uses signing statements to ignore the law, as in the case of torture.
Stop the President's Silent Vetoes

I'm writing to ask that you review this president's unprecedented use of signing statements to break laws that he does not agree with -- and then use all means at your disposal to hold him accountable.

It was often heard during the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton that "no one, not even the President, is above the law." Isn't that still the case today? If the President declares that he is the sole arbiter of what is and is not legal and constitutional, then what's the point of even having laws?

The separation of powers is one of the fundamental principles that differentiates our representative democracy from a dictatorship. Your power has been radically usurped. You need to express your opposition publicly, hold oversight hearings, and use your unique standing as lawmakers to sue. The future of our democracy demands no less.


Sign This Petition...



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