Dan Abrams examined the Bush administration's unprecedented use of
signing statements in the second installment of his week-long MSNBC
series on "Bush League Justice."
"President Bush doesn't like to veto laws," Abrams began. "He doesn't
have to. Since he took office, he's been attaching conditions to laws
already passed by Congress, allowing him to essentially disobey the will
of Congress and dramatically expand his own power."
Bush has issued 1100 signing statements -- almost twice as many as all
previous presidents put together -- often completely reversing the
intended effect of legislation. For example, when Congress voted
overwhelmingly to ban torture, Bush announced that this would "make it
clear to the world that this government does not torture." Two weeks
later, he added a signing statement to the bill that allowed him to
Similarly, when a bill required the Justice Department to report to
Congress on the use of the Patriot Act, Bush added a proviso that he
could override this requirement any time he thought necessary.
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