August 8 was a good day for America. It went under the radar, but the American Bar Association’s 550-member House of Delegates – the policy-making body that represents 400,000 ABA members (and includes true conservatives) – voted that it “opposes, as contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers, the misuse of presidential signing statements by claiming the authority… to disregard or decline to enforce all or part of a law the president has signed, or to interpret such a law in a manner inconsistent with the clear intent of Congress.”
The delegates endorsed the unanimous findings of a bipartisan task force which had decried George Bush’s use of signing statements “as an unconstitutional power grab.” Bush has issued more than 800 challenges (more than all previous presidents combined) to provisions of passed laws, including whistleblower protection, protection of federally funded research from political interference, and the ban on torture.
This is an important step forward by a bipartisan, establishment institution. It signals widespread support for reining in an Executive branch run amok that imperils our Republic. This administration has demeaned our democracy. It’s high time to follow the lead of the ABA. Demand that every candidate for office this November commit to repairing the damage done to our system of checks and balances by the Bush administration.