The President Often Intends to Obey the Law


Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on President Bush's promiscuous use of "signing statements" to indicate that he will obey acts of Congress only when he feels like it. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Michelle Boardman testified that such finger-crossing weasel words–which Bush much prefers to the more forthright (and clearly constitutional) veto, a tool he has never used–are "not an abuse of power." Sometimes the president has no particular contingency in mind, she explained, and is just trying to anticipate unconstitutional applications of a law that might arise in the future. "It is often not at all the situation that the president doesn't intend to enact the bill," she said. But usually it is? With reassurances like this, who needs anti-Bush hysteria?