Gray Panthers of San Francisco
June, 2006 Newsletter

Bush annuls laws with "signing statements"


(From The Hightower Lowdown, May 2006.) Down in the recently renewed USA Patriot Act is a small but important provision requiring the Bushites to keep close track of how the FBI uses the new search-and-seizure powers granted by the bill and mandating that the White House report this information to Congress by set dates. The Bushites had opposed this provision, for they imperiously believe that they are not accountable to anyone, but it passed anyway.

So Bush got sneaky. He held a big media event when he signed the bill. After the media had departed, however, George snuck an executive “signing statement” onto it. In this extralegal addendum, Bush autocratically asserts that, despite Congress’s clear legal directive, he does not consider himself bound to tell lawmakers how the Patriot Act’s expanded police powers are being used. He declares that if he thinks that disclosure would “impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive [whatever the hell that is], or the performance of the executive’s constitutional duties,” he can just ignore the law.

Excuse us, George, but the Constitution is clear on this: Congress alone writes the laws of our land, and it is the president’s constitutional duty to execute those laws faithfully. But the heck with the Constitution and presidential duty “Bleep you, Congress,” snorts Bush, “I’m El Rey!”
—Civil Liberties Committee

(back to June 2006 Newsletter front page)