Koh Implements Signing Statements That He Believes are Unconstitutional

by Julian Ku

Ed Whelan notes (in his typically colorful way) that State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh has been implementing one of President Obama’s signing statements with respect to meeting with designated state sponsors of terrorism at U.N. meetings.  A federal law passed by Congress and signed by Obama prohibits such meetings, but Obama issued a signing statement saying the provision on meeting with “state sponsors of terrorism” at the U.N. is unconstitutional and he would ignore it.

Koh is on the record, very publicly, in support of the view that any such signing statement, which would allow the President to ignore a federal law is “contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers…”.  But he obviously has an obligation to follow the policy set by the President.  I assume this is just one of those cases where you have to swallow your views, but its gotta hurt.  Or maybe signing statements aren’t such a big deal after all? After all, his ultimate boss has changed his mind about them!


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