President Obama yesterday unveiled this year’s version of a holiday tradition rather closer to presidents’ hearts than the lighting of the White House Christmas tree or the Easter egg roll on the South Lawn. Yes, it’s this year’s quietly released signing statement…
This tradition took root when Pres. George W. Bush famously signed into law a bill banning torture, doing so on the Friday entering the 2005-06 New Years’ weekend, then releasing a signing statement that night on the White House website leaving to his executive discretion the decision whether to actually follow that law.
Matt Dickinson’s blog Presidential Power over the weekend updated us on an important legislative development (hard though it is to believe there could be a legislative development at present): the Senate’s odd bipartisan effort to require that all terrorism suspects be detained by the military and tried, if at all, by military tribunals rather than the civilian courts. As Matt notes, this would be true even if the suspect was an American suspect, captured on American soil.
With Rick Perry now in 4th place in GOP polls, I wanted to share this reminder of his glory days in Texas gubernatorial politics before it was too late. The attached radio ad comes from his 2006 reelection campaign against former congressman Chris Bell. Perry won 39%-30% (with two strong independent candidates, bizarrely including Kinky Friedman, garnering 30% of the vote between them.) Part of Perry’s theme: “this ain’t Taxachusetts!”
The president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed”: is that a duty, or a power? Over time, with the growth of the executive branch and the American administrative state, “presiders” have become “deciders”: hence Elena Kagan’s famous law review novella “Presidential Administration,” a how-to guide of sorts.