The controversy over presidential signing statements is heating up again, as evidenced by Charlie Savage's Boston Globe story Bush Signings Called Effort to Expand Power (free; registration required). Savage's story turns on a recent Congressional Research Service report, Presidential Signing Statements: Constitutional and Institutional Implications (PDF; 30 pages), that concludes, in part:
...it appears that recent administrations, as made apparent by the voluminous challenges lodged by President George W. Bush, have employed these instruments in an attempt to leverage power and control away from Congress by establishing these broad assertions of authority as a constitutional norm. It can be argued that the appropriate focus of congressional concern should center not on the issuance of signing statements themselves, but on the broad assertions of presidential authority forwarded by Presidents and the substantive actions taken to establish that authority. Accordingly, a robust oversight regime focusing on substantive executive action, as opposed to the vague and generalized assertions of authority typical of signing statements, might allow Congress in turn to more effectively assert its constitutional prerogatives and ensure compliance with its enactments.
For more on signing statements, including advice on finding them, see our post Presidential Signing Statements - Get 'em While They're Hot.
[Thanks to BeSpacific for the link to the CRS report.]