Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Signing Statements: How they jeopardize American security for private citizens

President Bush's signing statements are not binding.

They may express his view on the statute, but his oath of office requires conduct consistent with the intent of Congress.

It appears the signing statements show an intent to contradict what Congress explicitly intends.

It forms the basis to question whether the President is knowingly not fulfilling his obligations as President.

It's settled law that the Constitution and acts of Congress, once signed, are the supreme Law of the land.

Although the President may use signing statements to outline how he intends to enact legislation, these statements are not enforceable. Rather, the courts look only at the intent of Congress.

We judge the signing statements, if followed, amount to a line item veto and are unconstitutional.

We recommend the House Judiciary Committee consult with the Congressional Research Service to review line item vetoes and Presidential orders and conduct which are not consistent with the intent of Congress.

Specifically, President Jackson's assertions in the 1800s that he didn't have to consult with Congress before removing funds from the bank may prove instructive.

It is another matter whether the President has violated the law.

However, the signing statements suggest the President has no intention of complying or enforcing the Legislature's intent.

In general, this may form the basis for an impeachment; specifically with respect to torture, we judge this could amount to a war crime. Under the UCMJ military members may be deemed to have violated the laws of war. In turn, a lawful retribution by American battlefield opponents -- whether they are lawful or unlawful combatants is irrelevant -- could lawfully be a similar violation of the same statutes which the US ignores.

IN other words, if the US President decides that torture is acceptable -- despite what the US has signed in treaties or what Congress has state -- a court may later find that foreign fighters can similarly violate the same statutes and engage in the following without fear of sanctions:

  • Lawfully invade US citizens homes and kidnap them;

  • Lawfully engage in abuse of American citizens in places of worship;

  • Lawfully torture American citizens in remote locations; and

  • Lawfully deny American citizens access to independent observers.

    The President's signing statement isn't simply a game of "let's see what we can get away with." Bluntly, the President's statement shows and intent to violate the laws of war.

    A reasonable US citizens could envision future combat activities where enemy fighters would have the protection of the courts in similarly committing atrocities in America's homeland.

    The US President has sent a green light to the world: Because America intends to not enforce these standards of conduct, there is no reason any other fighter would be bound by the same provisions.

    The laws of war are not just important for American military service members. They are also important for American citizens.

    The singing statements are a clear and present risk for American citizens, far removed from combat and battlefield, but possibly thrust into torture chambers.

    America's military was designed to insulate American citizens from the ravages of war. This President's signing statements will do the opposite -- fully exposing American citizens to lawful retribution for American military and CIA violations of the protocols against torture.