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Darth's still in control

Charlie Savage at the Boston Globe has another excellent piece out about the control Darth Cheney exerts on this administration, and how he is the enforcer behind Dear Leader’s myriad attempts to circumvent Congressional oversight and laws on the books that would stifle what he sees as appropriate presidential power.

The office of Vice President Dick Cheney routinely reviews pieces of legislation before they reach the president’s desk, searching for provisions that Cheney believes would infringe on presidential power, according to former White House and Justice Department officials.

The officials said Cheney’s legal adviser and chief of staff, David Addington, is the Bush administration’s leading architect of the “signing statements” the president has appended to more than 750 laws. The statements assert the president’s right to ignore the laws because they conflict with his interpretation of the Constitution.

The Bush-Cheney administration has used such statements to claim for itself the option of bypassing a ban on torture, oversight provisions in the USA Patriot Act, and numerous requirements that they provide certain information to Congress, among other laws.

Previous vice presidents have had neither the authority nor the interest in reviewing legislation. But Cheney has used his power over the administration’s legal team to promote an expansive theory of presidential authority. Using signing statements, the administration has challenged more laws than all previous administrations combined.

This article is the follow-up to Savage’s must-read piece from April, Bush challenges hundreds of laws. (I posted on it here).

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding