President Bush's Penchant for Signing Statements Called Into Question

Michael Greco, ABA president
Michael Greco, ABA president

HONOLULU (KHNL) - President Bush is threatening the american form of government, according to the American Bar Association.

"We have a president who doesn't believe he has the obligation to enforce the laws," said Michael Greco, ABA president.

With 400,000 members, the bar association said the president's practice of writing exceptions to laws he signs may violate the Constitution. The ABA said the exceptions, called signing statements, allow the president to effectively avoid enforcing certain laws.

A study by the bar association shows President Bush has attached more than 800 signing statements during his time in office. Previous presidents dating back to James Monroe combined for about 600 signing statements between them.

"The president isn't vetoing, the president isn't sending the legislation back to congress," Greco said. "He is attaching a statement saying i've signed it but i'm not going to enforce it."

A White House spokesman said laws enacted must be enforced by the government.

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow told reporters last week many of the signing statements may include constitutional questions about a law.

The White House said the president's signing statements never say the government will not enact a particular law.

"Unless we stop this use, future presidents will do the same thing," Greco said. "And what they're doing essentially is saying I am above the law."