A panel of legal scholars and lawyers assembled by the American Bar Association is sharply criticizing the use of "signing statements" by President Bush that assert his right to ignore or not enforce laws passed by Congress. In a report to be issued today, the ABA task force said that Bush has lodged more challenges to provisions of laws than all previous presidents combined. Luckily for Republicans the panel has about as much bite as a modern-day congressional oversight panel.
The issue probed revolves around signing statements, an executive privlidge. President Bush often signs bills passed by congress and then issues a statement reserving the right not to enforce or execute them on the grounds that they infringe on presidential authority. Last year congress passed legislation banning cruel or degrading treatment of prisoners which Bush signed with an official statement saying he may not enforce the ban if necessary to prevent a terrorist attack.