On Monday, President Barack Obama called into question the legitimacy of former President Bush’s signing statements and ordered all “executive branch departments and agencies” to seek the “advice of the Attorney General before relying on signing statements issued prior to the date of this memorandum as the basis for disregarding, or otherwise refusing to comply with, any provision of a statute.”
Although the practice of using signing statements has been around since the 19th century, former President Bush, “broke all records, using signing statements to challenge about 1,200 sections of bills over his eight years in office, about twice the number challenged by all previous presidents combined, according to data compiled by Christopher Kelley, a political science professor at Miami University in Ohio.”
Many of Mr. Bush’s challenges were based on an expansive view of the president’s power, as commander in chief, to take actions he believes necessary, regardless of what Congress says in legislation.
The directive issued by President Obama is another step in rescinding some of the many policies of the Bush administration that have come in question throughout his two terms in office. Without question President Obama has said to the Bush administration, Bush’s abuse of power will not stand in his administration.