June 27, 2006

One small skirmsh...

David Cohen has a great post on issue of "signing statements."

....We usually celebrate the genius of our constitution by ticking off our freedoms, or our wealth, or noting the noble goals of American exceptionalism. But in reality the genius of the constitutional system is best illustrated by this trite, less-than-noble jockeying for power. The President claims some power. Congress pushes back. The Framers knew that they were not instituting a government of angels. They knew that office-holders always try to accumulate power. They therefore famously set up a system of checks and balances; one of which is that, if the President is gaining power, Congress is losing power. Congress, regardless of faction and party, is as an institution loath to lose power and will do what it can to stem the tide. Here, the signing statements are a sideshow.

Both the Congress and the Administration know that those statements
have no power to change legislation or the President's constitutional powers. This is just one small skirmish in the war between Congress and the President, each of whom keeps the other in check by desiring to capture as much power as possible. [emphasis added]

The pushing and shoving has been going on all through our history. We are currently in a phase of pushback against congressional power-grabbing during the 70's, after Watergate.

Posted by John Weidner at June 27, 2006 7:47 AM
Weblog by John Weidner