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Presidential signing statements have come out of obscurity and into the headlines. Along with salutary attention to an interesting issue, the new public visibility of signing statements has generated much overblown commentary. The desire to make these little-known documents interesting to the public – and to score points in the inevitable political battles over any practice engaged in by a sitting President – has produced a lot of discussion that misleads the public and has tended to obscure the significant issues surrounding the use of signing statements. Reflection may help put the discussion in a more useful perspective. We offer these views as the joint product of persons who have served under different Presidents and are identified as Republican and Democrat (one in each camp) and as enthusiasts for fairly strong and relatively modest views of presidential authority under the Constitution (also one in each camp).


Law | President/Executive Department