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Sunday, July 23, 2006

All Judicial Review, All the Time!

An ABA committee calls for judicial review of Presidential signing statements?  

"Now, U.S. News has learned, an American Bar Association task force is set to suggest even stronger action. In a report to be released Monday, the task force will recommend that Congress pass legislation providing for some sort of judicial review of the signing statements. Some task force members want to simply give Congress the right to sue over the signing statements; other task force members will not characterize what sort of judicial review might ultimately emerge."

So some in Congress are contemplating a bill that would confer standing to sue on themselves.  Leaving aside political question implications and the complexity of standing doctrine mentioned in the article for the time being, what makes them think that the President would sign their bill?  

Of course I think that conflicts of this sort between Congress and the Executive should be resolved by, well, Congress and the Executive.  It isn't surprising that the ABA would call for more judicial review in general, since it would amount to more work for their members, but if those pushing for this somehow succeed, I wonder how long it will be until they regret it.  

I guess we can just add this to the list of reasons why I will most likely not join the ABA.  

7/24 UPDATE:  Ed Whelan takes on the committee report over at Bench Memos.


So.. Congress passes a law. The President signs it, saying he won't enforce it. So the law doesn't get enforced. What should Congress do? Pass another law? What can Congress do when an intellectually dishonest president uses signing statements instead of vetoes? They can't be overridden or changed by Congress. I suppose Congress could ask the President nicely to enforce the laws they pass, but I think a judicial order would be far more effective.
I think that Congress has a big ol' check on the President in its spending power, and I think they should use it. Of course they won't (and yes, this may or may not conflict with my arguments on Mt. Soledad), and President Bush has been anemic with the veto, but ultimately I think it's politics, and best left at that, and getting the courts involved would just be too messy to be "worth it".
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