The WSJ rips into the ABA "study" into the constitutionality of presidential signing statements. The ABA claims that Pres. Bush has violated the Constitution by issuing signing statements indicating his own interpretation of the law because the executive must merely carry out the wishes of Congress.
This is a historically ignorant and morally foolish view. First, Presidents have held the prerogative to interpret the Constitution and the laws of Congress for more than 200 years. Pres. Jackson vetoed the bill authorizing a second Bank of the United States precisely because he believed it was unconstitutional and the President had the power, authority and responsibility to exercise his own constitutional judgment.
Second, the President must protect and defend the Constitution -- that is a part of the oath of office he swears upon inauguration. President Bush's problem is that he has defended the Constitution too weakly -- by allowing the McCain Gitmo bill that effectively gave terrorists Geneva Convention status, by failing to veto the unconstitutional McCain-Feingold Act, by failing to protect executive power from Congressional interference.
Third, the ABA view is contrary to the purpose of our system. The courts do not have the sole authority or duty to interpret the Constitution and the President's role is not merely to perform Congress' bidding on those laws he does not veto.
Read the whole column.