….maybe President Bush can move on and read the freaking Constitution, for chrissakes.

Remember that thing in there about the three branches of government? The Legislative, which makes the laws; the Executive, which executes the laws; and the Judicial, which interprets the laws? Remember that? I think it was on School House Rock, if I remember correctly. Maybe somebody could make a copy of the document and send it to me in the mail so that W might read the damn thing. Why the uproar, you may ask?

Well, once again, Shrubya seems to think that he is both the Executive and the Legislative branches all in one handy little plant (he is a shrub after all). The New York Daily News reported Thursday on one of his latest “signing statements” to have crawled out from under its rock.

He signed a postal reform law on December 20, and added his own .02 in the form of a signing statement, this time essentially asserting that the government has the right to open anybody’s mail if they decide that it is an emergency. It’s a claim that is contrary to existing law and one that was in no way a clarification of the legislation he was signing.

The full signing statement is at MSNBC, and is as follows:

“The executive branch shall construe subsection 404(c) of title 39, as enacted by subsection 1010(e) of the act, which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection, in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection.”

Typically, these signing statements have been used in the past to clarify or instruct executive agencies how to carry out new laws. W has issued more of these things than all of the previous presidents combined and has consistently used them to try to claim the right to change, re-interpret or disregard laws on national security and constitutional grounds. Or just because he feels like it. Cuz he’s the Decider, you know.

This law to which he appended this power-grab dealt largely with the minutiae of postal service reform, but it also explicitly reinforced protections of first-class mail from searches without a court’s approval. So not only was this signing statement not a clarification of the legislation….it was a direct contradiction of the legislation.

From the NYDN article:

“You have to be concerned,” agreed a career senior U.S. official who reviewed the legal underpinnings of Bush’s claim. “It takes Executive Branch authority beyond anything we’ve ever known.”

I had to dig for a while to find this quote from George Orwell’s 1984, but found this:

“As for sending a letter through the mails, it was out of the question. By a routine that was not even secret, all letters were opened in transit.”

Constitutional liberties and rights disappear on a regular basis under this administration. The Constitution is rewritten or reinterpreted on a regular basis. And meanwhile, America sleeps on…. mostly worried about whether or not Britney Spears is or isn’t wearing underwear.