Pulitzer Winner Explains 'Signing Statements' Story Journalist Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe just won a Pulitzer Prize for national-affairs reporting. In an April 2006 article, he detailed how often President Bush has used "signing statements" to assert the right to bypass provisions of new laws; Savage's article prompted Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) to call for hearings investigating the matter. Rebroadcast from May 9, 2006.
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Pulitzer Winner Explains 'Signing Statements' Story

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Pulitzer Winner Explains 'Signing Statements' Story

Pulitzer Winner Explains 'Signing Statements' Story

Pulitzer Winner Explains 'Signing Statements' Story

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  • <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.