There’s an interesting article in today’s NY Times entitled, “Presidential Signing Statements, and Alito’s Role in Them, Are Questioned”. It piqued my interest about presidential signing statements, so I tried to find others. Using the exact wording of the NYT article (“Presidential signing statements”), was unsuccessful. GPO Access’ Public Papers of the Presidents gave some access, but only from 1991. What’s worse, there is nothing for the current administration newer than 2002. I found nothing in LexisNexis, and only after a thorough search on whitehouse.gov did I find text there — but not until I remembered the recent govdoc-l thread that described how to find them and Daniel Cornwall’s helpful suggestion of using the phrase “statement on signing.”
[As an aside, I also searched on FindLaw, and found this intriguing article by Jennifer Van Bergen entitled, “The Unitary Executive: Is The Doctrine Behind the Bush Presidency Consistent with a Democratic State?” Van Bergen makes a cogent argument that Bush’ use of the signing statement and his expansion of unilateral executive power, “violates basic tenets of our system of checks and balances, quietly crossing longstanding legal and moral boundaries that are essential to a democratic society.”]
This was an eye-opening exercise, but it really highlights 2 things: how difficult it is to find government information (even for purportedly savvy users), and how important the library community remains to the success of users in finding the information they need. I doubt whether the average user would go to these lengths to find what one would assume is a pretty straightforward information quest.
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