Little Wall Street Journal....
Obama Makes Use of Signing Statements
WASHINGTON -- Democrats often criticized the Bush White House for its use of the presidential signing statement, a means by which the president can reject provisions of a bill he deems unconstitutional without vetoing the entire legislation. Now the approach is back.
President Barack Obama, after signing into law a $410 billion budget bill on Wednesday, declared five provisions in the bill to be unconstitutional and non-binding, including one that would effectively restrict U.S. troop deployments under U.N. command and another aimed at preventing punishment of whistleblowers.
The move came two days after Mr. Obama ordered a review of his predecessor's signing statements and said he would rein in the use of such declarations.
"As I announced this past Monday, it is a legitimate constitutional function, and one that promotes the value of transparency, to indicate when a bill that is presented for Presidential signature includes provisions that are subject to well-founded constitutional objections," Mr. Obama said in the statement.
Democrats, and some Republicans, complained that former President George W. Bush abused the signing statement by declaring that he would ignore congressional intent on more than 1,200 sections of bills, easily a record. Critics at the time said that if the president had constitutional questions, he should veto the bill and demand a correction.
Mr. Bush's successor showed Wednesday that he isn't averse to using the same methods.
"We're having a repeat of what Democrats bitterly complained about under President Bush," said Sen. Arlen Specter (R, Pa.), who drafted legislation to nullify Mr. Bush's signing statements. He added that if Mr. Obama "wants to pick a fight, Congress has plenty of authority to retaliate