There are a lot of criticisms of President Bush I can understand. There are some I can respect. But there are a lot that I look at and my brain just seizes up and I find myself boggling at the idiocy.
One of those is Bush’s use of “signing statements” of legislation. This one has the Nutroots frothing on a fairly regular basis, and I just don’t understand why. In fact, it has Nancy Pelosi so worked up, she’s threatening to sue Bush over them.
From my understanding, Bush’s signing statements are little notes that he puts after his signature after he makes a bill into a law. The statement outlines which parts of the measure he disagrees with and spells out why he doesn’t like them.
These signing statements have absolutely no legal standing. They are simply Bush laying groundwork for a legal battle if — that’s IF — he decides to challenge the Constitutionality of the law at a future date.
Hell, if anything, it’s a tactical blunder. He’s spelling out just what arguments he will use should he challenge the law in the future, tipping his hand and allowing his opponents plenty of time to prepare counterarguments.
But by themselves, the statements are meaningless and powerless. It’s the equivalent of signing a restaurant check while telling the waiter “I don’t think the veal was worth what you charged me.” Or even writing below it “I think I am being overcharged here.” The signature is the legally-binding aspect; the addendum means nothing UNLESS and UNTIL the signing party chooses to dispute the matter.
But then again, it occurs to me that it might be a good thing overall if Pelosi does sue Bush. If nothing else, it’ll keep her from doing other, more damaging things, and it is such a slam-dunk case that Bush could assign the matter to some very junior counsel just so that minion could add “walked all over the Speaker of the House in court” to his or her resume.