In the Beginning: Bush Signing Statements.
All of the questions that John Conyers will be pursuing as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will come in to conflict with, whether the Patriot Act, overrides the Constitution or vise-a-versa.
In the time he has been in office George W. Bush has used Signing Statements to ignore over a thousand Bills he has signed in to power. Now that the Republican run 109th Congress is out of the road, the 110th congress that is a Democratic majority have made it one of their task is to challenge these Signing Statements. Read on.>>>
Conyers said the president has no power ” to ignore duly enacted laws he has negotiated with Congress and signed.” And he vowed to find out whether the administration has followed each law it challenged — including laws touching on classified national security matters, such as the tactics used to interrogate suspected terrorists and the FBI’s use of the Patriot Act.
“This is a constitutional issue that no self-respecting federal legislature should tolerate,” Conyers said, and he added that the committee was determined to “get to the bottom of this matter, and to be blunt, we are not going to take no for an answer.”
The thing that might slow down the process of making this right with the people and the Congress, is if the Patriot Act and all of its revisions over ride the Constitution. Numerous occasions when speaking on behalf of the Bush White House, Attorney General Gonzalez has referred to the Patriot Act when defending the actions taken by George W. Bush. With these remarks the raises the question, “What document is the country being run under”?
Republicans on the committee complained about the hearing, saying that the controversy over the Bush administration’s signing statements is overblown.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General John P. Elwood testified that the committee will find nothing amiss. He noted that Bush has repeatedly said his administration does not torture, and said that the Department of Justice has not held back any information from Congress about its use of the Patriot Act.
It seems that the White House is concentrating on the McCain Torture Bill, when there are so many other possible violations.
Oct. 29: Defense Department personnel are prohibited from interfering with the ability of military lawyers to give independent legal advice to their commanders.
Bush’s signing statement: All military attorneys are bound to follow legal conclusions reached by the administration’s lawyers in the Justice Department and the Pentagon when giving advice to their commanders.
Aug. 8: The Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its contractors may not fire or otherwise punish an employee whistle-blower who tells Congress about possible wrongdoing.
Bush’s signing statement: The president or his appointees will determine whether employees of the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can give information to Congress.
This next Signing Statement was just found to have been used when the (P)resident threatened scientist with their jobs if they made reference to “Global Warming” in their reports, or in public.
Dec. 30: When requested, scientific information “prepared by government researchers and scientists shall be transmitted [to Congress] uncensored and without delay.”
Bush’s signing statement: The president can tell researchers to withhold any information from Congress if he decides its disclosure could impair foreign relations, national security, or the workings of the executive branch.
Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
Bush’s signing statement: The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.
Where most Presidents have used Signing Statements to show their understanding, or interoperation of a Bill, and most used it to thank Members of Congress and the Senate who worked on the Bill, George W. Bush used them to ignore of basically veto the Bill, without actually vetoing it.
So Senator Conyers has a long road ahead of him and the Committee. This will end up in the Supreme Court, which will be in the administrations favor.