By Charlie Savage Globe Staff / December 1, 2007
WASHINGTON - President Bush this month issued his first signing statement since the Democratic takeover of Congress, reserving the right to bypass 11 provisions in a military appropriations bill under his executive powers.
In the statement, which the White House filed in the Federal Register on Nov. 13 but which initially attracted little attention, Bush challenged several requirements to provide information to Congress.
For example, one law Bush targeted requires him to give oversight committees notice before transferring US military equipment to United Nations peacekeepers.
Bush also challenged a new law that limits his ability to transfer funds lawmakers approved for one purpose to start a different program, as well as a law requiring him to keep in place an existing command structure for the Navy's Pacific fleet.
"The Act contains certain provisions identical to those found in prior bills passed by the Congress that might be construed to be inconsistent with my Constitutional responsibilities," Bush's statement says.
(And I know this comes from the Globe. Ha ha. You got me. But you people can still eat it.)
The Unitary Executive Theory goes something like this: "In addition to the powers painstakingly enumerated to me in the Constitution, I ACTUALLY get to do anything that might be required of me to "protect the country" during wartime or whatever. (It's a good thing we've got a war going on!) So I get to legislate in addition to executing. The Framers went to all that trouble and spilled all that ink in Article One for nothing. Maybe they just didn't understand the Unitary Executive Theory."
Well, I've got my own signing statements. I get to judge all legislation against my inherent responsibility to see that my political power not be expressed in a manner that runs counter to some universal sense of propriety.
...And very little passes muster...
Two can play this game, you know. It's called the "Let's All Decide What Laws We'll Obey" game.