Obama Takes New Route to Opposing Parts of Laws

Charlie Savage
The New York Times
January 8, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is lowering the volume in a long-running argument between Congress and the executive branch over when, if ever, a president has the power to bypass federal statutes he has signed into law.

Legal scholars said the administration’s new approach, which avoids repeating claims of executive power that the White House has previously voiced, could avoid setting off fights with lawmakers. But the approach will make it harder to keep track of which statutes the White House believes it can disregard, or to compare the number of laws challenged by President Obama with former President George W. Bush’s record.

In Mr. Obama’s first months in office last year, he followed recent precedent and frequently issued statements, when signing bills into law, that the executive branch could disregard provisions that he considered unconstitutional restraints on executive power.

But Mr. Obama has not issued a signing statement since last summer, when one claim set off a bipartisan uproar in Congress. And the administration has decided that Mr. Obama will sometimes sign bills containing provisions it deems problematic without issuing a signing statement that challenges those sections.

The article continues at the NYT.

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