Friday, July 07, 2006

Impressive weasel words regarding signing statements

Trying to remind themselves (and everyone else) why they exist, senators on the Judiciary Committee held hearings on the president's use of 'signing statements,' which are intended to interpret laws passed by Congress.

The signing statement debate is nothing new, but I had to give a grudging nod to the quality of the weasel words produced by the underling Bush sent to appease the senators at the hearing. Here's deputy assistant attorney general Michelle Boardman, as quoted in New York Times:

"Michelle Boardman, a deputy assistant attorney general, said the statements were 'not an abuse of power.'

Rather, Ms. Boardman said, the president has the responsibility to make sure the Constitution is upheld. He uses signing statements, she argued, to 'save' statutes from being found unconstitutional. And he reserves the right, she said, only to raise questions about a law 'that could in some unknown future application' be declared unconstitutional.

'It is often not at all the situation that the president doesn't intend to enact the bill,' Ms. Boardman said."

Double negatives -- a classic. But my favorite is the explanation that the President is just trying to 'save' statutes from being found unconstitutional 'in some unknown future application.' That's disgustingly impressive (or impressively disgusting, take your pick.)