Tuesday, January 01, 2008

His paw is in a sling

Boys and girls, you ol' friend Spot injured a typing paw (two typing paws and a nose; it usually goes pretty fast) in a gruesome accident here in the doghouse. While he heals up—and Swiftee, Spot will heal to write again, sorry—he won't be posting too much. Spot did want to call one thing to your attention, though. It comes via Mercury Rising.

Apparently El Presidente Bush signed the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007. But as he often does, Bush included a signing statement—much like crossing your fingers behind you back when you don't mean what you're saying—that Spot reproduces with Phoenix Woman's highlights:

Today, I have signed into law S. 2271, the “Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007.” I share the deep concern of the Congress over the continued violence in Darfur perpetrated by the Government of Sudan and rebel groups. My Administration will continue its efforts to bring about significant improvements in the conditions in Sudan through sanctions against the Government of Sudan and high level diplomatic engagement and by supporting the deployment of peacekeepers in Darfur.

This Act purports to authorize State and local governments to divest from companies doing business in named sectors in Sudan and thus risks being interpreted as insulating from Federal oversight State and local divestment actions that could interfere with implementation of national foreign policy. However, as the Constitution vests the exclusive authority to conduct foreign relations with the Federal Government, the executive branch shall construe and enforce this legislation in a manner that does not conflict with that authority.

December 31, 2007.

PW charitably calls this "weaselly."

You notice the sleight of hand, don't you, boys and girls? First, the statement says that foreign policy is up to the federal government, but then it says that it is up to the executive branch to decide what that policy is.

Of course, by adopting the Sudan Accountability Act, Congress already announced the foreign policy on the subject. The signing statement is a claim the the executive somehow makes foreign policy in a vacuum without any role for the Congress. This has Professor Organ Failure, John Yoo, and "unitary executive" written all over it.

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