Thursday, January 5, 2012

Obama Uses "Signing Statements" to Get His Way

In 2008, Democratic presidential candidate Barrack Obama criticized President George W. Bush for using "signing statements", which are obscure declarations that allow a president to thwart the intent of laws passed by Congress.

Obama promised, that if elected, he would not use them. Since taking office, Obama has, on at least 20 occasions, used "signing statements" to get his way.

His latest signing statement was in response to the National Defense Authorization Act which funded the military for 2012. In a 13-paragraph memorandum, President Obama stated that his attorneys concluded that there were certain provisions that would interfere with his constitutional duties.

Some of the items he is choosing to ignore are:
  • Restrictions of data transfers to Russia;
  • New authorities to detain suspected members of al Qaeda; and
  • Sanctions against the central bank of Iran.
In addition to this, President Obama has decided to exercise his power of recess appointments once again by appointing Richard Cordray as the head of the New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three new members of the National Labor Relations Board.

The problem with these appointments is that Obama exercised his power of recess appointment while the Senate was open for business. Obama used his open-ended authority to determine whether or not the Senate is in recess without consulting them.

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