Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Bush statement with torture bill

The NYT are not too impressed with President Bush at the moment it seems as they are also running a story saying the president issues quiet parallel statements with bills he has signed into law, saying he can interpret them as he sees fit.

" Congress late last year passed what became known as the torture amendment, sponsored by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, to ban cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners in American custody. Mr. Bush at first opposed the amendment, but gave in when it became clear that it had overwhelming support from the two parties on Capitol Hill. The president then invited Mr. McCain, his old political nemesis, to the Oval Office to announce that he agreed with him and "to make clear to the world that this government does not torture."

But on Dec. 30, after signing the legislation into law with no ceremony at his Texas ranch, Mr. Bush issued an accompanying "signing statement" - the 8 p.m. e-mail message - that Democrats and some Republicans say asserted that he could ignore the law if he wished.

Specifically, the statement said that the administration would interpret the amendment "in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the president to supervise the unitary executive branch and as commander in chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on judicial power."

Mr. McCain issued a strong statement rejecting Mr. Bush's assertion, even as the White House has repeatedly declined to say what the president meant. "

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