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Obama Promised Not to Use Signing Statements, but Released One Last Night

8:37 AM, Jan 3, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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section 1025 operates in a manner that violates constitutional 

separation of powers principles, my Administration will 

implement it to avoid the constitutional conflict. 

 Sections 1022, 1027 and 1028 continue unwise funding 

restrictions that curtail options available to the executive 

branch.  Section 1027 renews the bar against using appropriated 

funds for fiscal year 2012 to transfer Guantanamo detainees into 

the United States for any purpose.  I continue to oppose this 

provision, which substitutes the Congress's blanket political 

determination for careful and fact-based determinations, made by 

counterterrorism and law enforcement professionals, of when and 

where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees.  For decades, 

Republican and Democratic administrations have successfully 

prosecuted hundreds of terrorists in Federal court.  Those 

prosecutions are a legitimate, effective, and powerful tool in 

our efforts to protect the Nation, and in certain cases may be 

the only legally available process for trying detainees.  

Removing that tool from the executive branch undermines our 

national security.  Moreover, this provision would, under 

certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of 

powers principles. 

 Section 1028 fundamentally maintains the unwarranted 

restrictions on the executive branch's authority to transfer 

detainees to a foreign country.  This provision hinders the 

Executive's ability to carry out its military, national 

security, and foreign relations activities and would, under 

certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of 

powers principles.  The executive branch must have the 

flexibility to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with 

foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee 

transfers.  The Congress designed these sections, and has here 

renewed them once more, in order to foreclose my ability to shut 

down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.  I continue to 

believe that operating the facility weakens our national 

security by wasting resources, damaging our relationships with 

key allies, and strengthening our enemies.  My Administration 

will interpret these provisions as consistent with existing 

and future determinations by the agencies of the Executive 

responsible for detainee transfers.  And, in the event that 

these statutory restrictions operate in a manner that violates 

constitutional separation of powers principles, my 

Administration will implement them in a manner that avoids 

the constitutional conflict. 

 As my Administration previously informed the Congress, 

certain provisions in this bill, including sections 1225, 913, 

1531, and 3122, could interfere with my constitutional authority 

to conduct the foreign relations of the United States.  In these 

instances, my Administration will interpret and implement these 

provisions in a manner that does not interfere with my 

constitutional authority to conduct diplomacy.  Section 1035, 

which adds a new section 495(c) to title 10, is deeply 

problematic, as it would impede the fulfillment of future U.S. 

obligations agreed to in the New START Treaty, which the Senate
provided its advice and consent to in 2010, and hinder the 

Executive's ability to determine an appropriate nuclear force 

structure.  I am therefore pleased that the Congress has 

included a provision to adequately amend this provision in 

H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which I will 

be signing into law today. 

 Certain provisions in the Act threaten to interfere with 

my constitutional duty to supervise the executive branch.  

Specifically, sections 827, 828, and 3164 could be interpreted 

in a manner that would interfere with my authority to manage 

and direct executive branch officials.  As my Administration 

previously informed the Congress, I will interpret those 

sections consistent with my authority to direct the heads of 

executive departments to supervise, control, and correct 

employees' communications with the Congress in cases where such 

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