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Presidential Signing Statements

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The following is a guest post by Shameema Rahman, Legal Reference Specialist in our Public Services Division.  Shameema is a frequent contributor to In Custodia Legis; her most recent post was entitled Where Can I Find a Congressional Bill?

Law Library patrons often approach us with inquiries on presidential statements.  Examples of these types of inquiries include: can the United States President express his opinion while signing a bill? Where can we access presidential statements?  How many times has President Obama made written comments while signing a bill into law? Did President Obama say anything on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? Did President Bush say anything about Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 which he vetoed but was overriden by Congress?

President Harry Truman signing military aid bill

Intent on answering these recurring inquiries I published a research guide on Presidential Signing Statements in 2007.  This guide is comprised of references to a number of resources including constitutional provisions, laws, cases, and scholarly publications as well as signing statements of all presidents through 2007.

A few things have changed since I published my 2007 guide.  The Obama Administration has made some changes to the publication of the Compilation of Presidential Documents.  One of the changes involved replacing The Weekly Compilation of the Presidential Documents  by the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents.  In addition, on March 9, 2009 the Obama Administration published a Memorandum on Presidential Signing Statements considering the ‘public discussion and criticism’ on signing statements.

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