2 comments March 12th, 2009at 08:48pm Posted by Eli
This is very, very disappointing. After all Obama’s happy talk about how he would only use signing statements “with caution and restraint, based only on interpretations of the Constitution that are well founded,” his first signing statement sounds just like one of Dubya’s.
“This provision,” Mr. Obama wrote, “raises constitutional concerns by constraining my choice of particular persons to perform specific command functions in military missions, by conditioning the exercise of my authority as commander in chief on the recommendations of subordinates within the military chain of command, and by constraining my diplomatic negotiating authority.”
He also raised concerns about a section that establishes whistle-blower protections for federal employees who give information to Congress.
“I do not interpret this provision,” he wrote, “to detract from my authority to direct the heads of executive departments to supervise, control and correct employees’ communications with the Congress in cases where such communications would be unlawful or would reveal information that is properly privileged or otherwise confidential.”
Mr. Obama called the provisions “impermissible forms of legislative aggrandizement” and declared that while executive-branch officials would notify lawmakers of any reallocation, “spending decisions shall not be treated as dependent on the approval of Congressional committees.”
In other words, “unconstitutional” means “anything that restricts my executive authority.” Just like his predecessor. When Obama made his claim about how measured he would be in his use of signing statements, I predicted that Republicans would immediately accuse him of hypocrisy the first time he issued one. I just didn’t think I’d be agreeing with them.