Friday, November 14, 2014

When Dubya responded to Congresstional legislation prohibiting torture with: "Meh..."

Just imagine with me for a moment what it would be like if our media had an institutional memory that could recall events that happened less than a decade ago. If that were the case, we might be reminded - in the midst of all this furor over potential presidential overreach on the part of Barack Obama - of something like this from July 2006.
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.

The panel members described the development as a serious threat to the Constitution's system of checks and balances, and they urged Congress to pass legislation permitting court review of such statements.

"The president is indicating that he will not either enforce part or the entirety of congressional bills," said ABA president Michael S. Greco, a Massachusetts attorney.
The most egregious of these happened when Congress passed a bill banning cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment (i.e., torture) of prisoners at U.S. detention centers. President Bush issued a signing statement basically saying, "Meh...I'll ignore that one when I want to." And of course we all know now that he DID ignore it. Those signing statements were part and parcel of Dick Cheney's commitment to the establishment of an "imperial presidency."

Perhaps the Republican's current obsession with what powers Barack Obama does/doesn't have as President means that they're ready to repudiate this notion. Or maybe they've come to recognize that their chances of winning a presidency in the near future are abysmal - so why not feign outrage at this one? Or - more likely - they'll just harp on President Obama and hope the media maintains its aversion to short-term memory when they want to re-establish a for-real imperial presidency.

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