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Federal Legislative History: Presidential Signing Statements (Ref. # 7)


Presidential Signing Statements

Flowchart reference number 7.

Presidential signing statements are the least valuable to collect for a legislative history because they only happen after Congress has acted.

  • Before Ronald Reagan in 1981, only 10 signing statements included presidential interpretations of federal statutes.
  • Reagan issued ~250 signing statements to increase presidential influence/power.
  • Bush I issued 228 statements.
  • Clinton issued 381 statements.
  • Bush II issued 1,200 statements.
  • >140 federal cases since 1945 cited presidential statements
  • Controversial since they are post-enactment.

Read this article by Laura McDonald, Florida State University Law Review, Vol. 38, Issue 1 (Fall 2010), pp. 179-208; 38 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 179 (2010-2011):
Interpretive Worth of Presidential Signing Statements: A New Form of Legislative History (Heinonline)

Finding Signing Statements