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Louis Fisher, “Signing Statements: Constitutional and Practical Limits” (PDF, 179KB), 16 William & Mary Bill of Rights J. 183 (2007).  May a President, through a signing statement, nullify or dilute a bill that both houses of Congress had just passed and presented to him?  Does that assertion of authority give him, in effect, an item veto?  What happens to the President’s constitutional obligation to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”?  If signing statements replace Congress-made law with Executive-made law and treat a statute as a mere non-binding starting point for what executive officials want to do, the rule of law is undermined.  The threat is especially grave when the implementation of a law is not made public, as in interrogating detainees.

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Last Updated: 06/09/2015