Friday, October 06, 2006

This sucker just doesn't give up, does he?

Quietly, discreetly, after a celebratory signing ceremony in which he praised the bill, Bush gave himself authority in a "signing statement" to ignore key provisions of Congress' new law governing presidential appointments to FEMA. (hat tip: Andrew Sullivan, bien sur)

Signing statement is employed again
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff October 6, 2006

"WASHINGTON -- President Bush this week asserted that he has the executive authority to disobey a new law in which Congress has set minimum qualifications for future heads of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Congress passed the law last week as a response to FEMA's poor handling of Hurricane Katrina. The agency's slow response to flood victims exposed the fact that Michael Brown, Bush's choice to lead the agency, had been a politically connected hire with no prior experience in emergency management.

To shield FEMA from cronyism, Congress established new job qualifications for the agency's director in last week's homeland security bill. The law says the president must nominate a candidate who has ``a demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management" and ``not less than five years of executive leadership."

Bush signed the homeland-security bill on Wednesday morning. Then, hours later, he issued a signing statement saying he could ignore the new restrictions. Bush maintains that under his interpretation of the Constitution, the FEMA provision interfered with his power to make personnel decisions."

(Ah, Bush's "interpretation" of the Constitution. I'm SURE we can trust that as far as we can throw it.)

Georgetown Law School professor Martin Lederman said Congress clearly has the power to set standards for positions such as the FEMA director, so long as the requirements leave a large enough pool of qualified candidates that the White House has ``ample room for choice."

``It's hard to imagine a more modest and reasonable congressional response to the Michael Brown fiasco," said Lederman, who worked in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel from 1994 to 2002.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment about its signing statement.

...Bush has virtually abandoned his veto power, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Bush has vetoed just one bill since taking office, the fewest of any president since the 19th century.

Earlier this year, the American Bar Association declared that Bush's use of signing statements was ``contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional separation of powers."

Last month, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service concluded that Bush's signing statements are ``an integral part" of his ``comprehensive strategy to strengthen and expand executive power" at the expense of the legislative branch."

Long live King George.


At 6:01 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

And this nut still has 2 years to wreak even more havoc upon the country. I predict that the Constitution will be a faint memory by then.

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous julia said...

I love every comment you make on the Greek Cow's blog - you seem to be one of the only commenters she lets through who has an opposing opinion.

I sent her a comment on her Mancow post, but she didn't let it through.

And on the shopping post, I thought the VERY SAME THING when she said she hadn't been shopping "abroad" in forever. Who says "abroad" anyway?? She's a pretentious snot and I'm glad at least someone other than me thinks so.

I'd love to share my Mancow comment with you - email me if you're interested in reading it.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Noisette said...

Haha- thanks, Julia. I'm slammed at work but will drop you an email later.


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