NPR logo

Pulitzer Winner Explains 'Signing Statements' Story

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/9621251/9621257" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Pulitzer Winner Explains 'Signing Statements' Story

Interviews

Pulitzer Winner Explains 'Signing Statements' Story

Pulitzer Winner Explains 'Signing Statements' Story

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/9621251/9621257" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Instead of vetoing bills, Savage reported, Bush has quietly used "signing statements" — official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill to be followed when implementing a new law. Other presidents have also used this power, but Bush has used it far more than his predecessors: 750 times, as of the date of Savage's article.

In his signing statements, Bush has asserted the right to ignore numerous sections of bills having to do with torture, domestic spying, affirmative action, "whistle-blower" protections and immigration problems. Legal scholars say that Bush's assertions "represent a concerted effort to expand his powers at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. Rebroadcast from May 9, 2006.