George W. Bush, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Use and Abuse of Presidential Signing Statements


Phillip J. Cooper is professor of public administration in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on public administration, administration law, constitutional law, law and public policy, environmental policy, and sustainable development administration.


This article considers how George W. Bush chose to use the presidential signing statement and the ways in which the administration's application of this tool of direct presidential action in its first term represents a set of important initiatives. The Bush administration has very effectively expanded the scope and character of the signing statement, not only to address specific provisions of legislation that the White House wishes to nullify but also to reposition and strengthen the powers of the presidency relative to the Congress. What is almost as interesting is the fact that so few in Congress, the media, or the scholarly community are aware that anything has happened at all.