Presidential Signing Statements in Perspective

19 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2007 Last revised: 7 Nov 2013

See all articles by Nelson Lund

Nelson Lund

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School

Date Written: 2007


Presidential signing statements that object to putatively unconstitutional statutory provisions, or interpret them to avoid constitutional difficulties, have long been common, and occasionally controversial. After an outburst of sensational journalism last year, the American Bar Association followed up with a report accusing President Bush of using these statements to threaten what it called "the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers." In this brief symposium contribution, I hope to indicate why the ABA's position is analytically untenable and irresponsibly hyperbolic, but also to raise a more interesting set of questions about the similarities and differences between the ways that courts and Presidents do and should go about the task of interpreting the Constitution and laws.

Keywords: signing statement, presentment clause, line item veto, take care clause

Suggested Citation

Lund, Nelson Robert, Presidential Signing Statements in Perspective (2007). William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 95-112, 2007, George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 07-24, Available at SSRN:

Nelson Robert Lund (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8045 (Phone)

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