Obama on Signing Statements

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President Obama has issued this memorandum promising to take a far more modest approach to “signing statements,” a practice that was abused by George W. Bush as a means of overriding the will of Congress. Among the key passages:

I will issue signing statements to address constitutional concerns only when it is appropriate to do a means of discharging my constitutional responsibilities.

And he warns Obama Administration officials not to rely on signing statements of previous Presidents:

To ensure that all signing statements previously issued are
followed only when consistent with these principles, executive
branch departments and agencies are directed to seek the advice
of the Attorney General before relying on signing statements
issued prior to the date of this memorandum as the basis for
disregarding, or otherwise refusing to comply with, any provision of a statute.

Here’s an analysis of the President’s new approach, as explained by the NYT’s Charlie Savage, who won a 2007 Pulitzer Prize for his work for the Boston Globe exposing Bush’s abuse of the practice.