Today the Senate Judiciary Committee is supposed to be holding hearings on presidential signing statements – the administration’s equivalent of holding crossed fingers behind one’s back while signing something into law.
From today’s New York Times:
…[A]ccording to the White House… [a] law is not binding when a president issues a separate statement saying he reserves the right to revise, interpret or disregard it on national security and constitutional grounds.
That’s the argument a Bush administration official is expected to make Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who has demanded a hearing on a practice he considers an example of the administration’s abuse of power.
I can see the White House’s point. I mean really, it would make things so much easier if the president could just interpret the constitutionality of a law rather than the judiciary branch. Who needs those activists, anyway? The money we could save on black robes alone! Of course, we could really streamline government if the executive branch got to write laws, too.
ADDITION TO POST: You can read the testimony from the hearing on the Senate Judiciary Committee webpage. Leahy was clearly pissed that the Administration didn’t send someone high up to talk to them.