Abbé Boulah Losing Sleep Over Signing StatementsPosted: October 19, 2008
Abbé Boulah He Has Another Sleepless Night:
Having fruitlessly pondered away his precious slumber with the question whether or not a president should be considered to have broken laws he signed but for which he wrote a ‘signing statement’ saying that he won’t be bound by the letter of that law — in fact that he should have vetoed it if he doesn’t intend to honor it — he foolishly began to ponder away the very next night, wondering whether a new president ‘inherits’ the law with the signing statement: does a case in which the previous president ignored the law, in accordance with the signing statement now become a precedent for how to interpret the law, or does the signing statement vanish with the departure of the previous president? Or is the law as written and signed (without the reservations of the signing statement) now really the law?
Can a person or entity adversely affected by the law as applied according to the signing statement appeal the case upon the new president taking office? What if the next president agrees with the previous signing statement: can he just tacitly accept the law as interpreted by his predecessor’s signing statement, or does he have to write his own signing statement? Could he do that for all the laws on the books? Because why limit that to the laws for which his predecessor signed a signing statement?
What if signing statements are really instances of violating the law, but the next president pardons his predecessor: are the signing opinions still in force? Or can they be appealed and reversed? Is this whole thing just a conspiracy to keep the courts occupied and too busy to settle the really important issues?
And finally: Given these questions: how can the president — or the candidates — sleep at night? Should the ability to sleep at night in the face of this conundrum be considered a qualification for the office? Should someone who can sleep in spite of it be considered conscientious enough to hold the highest office? Or should continual conscientious sleeplessness because of it disqualify a candidate?
And why are the mainstream media as well as certain non-mainstream talk show hosts so suspiciously silent on this question? What are they covering up? By all the dried ink in all the signing statement signing pens in the Oval Office!