Skip to comments.Obama's Staff Use Autopen To Sign 'Fiscal Cliff' Legislation
Posted on 01/03/2013 2:14:50 PM PST by Lmo56
President Barack Obama's staff used an autopen (a machine that mimics one's signature) to sign the "fiscal cliff" legislation that Congress passed on New Year's Day. There was no ceremony or photo-op for the autopen bill signing.
(Excerpt) Read more at weeklystandard.com ...
but that means everything “signed “ by him in this way will stay valid if/when he’s not impeached as a puojey.
That’s what I was waiting for
The Teleprompter in Chief now has Autopen hands. Too bad it still lacks brains, morals and a heart.
What's the difference? They're both fakes.
Autopens have been in existence since about 1803. Jefferson was known to use one extensively, but NEVER used one to sign a bill into law.
In fact, NO President [until Obama] EVER used one on an official US legislative document.
The consensus of historians is that, in order for a signature to be valid, our forefathers insisted that it be personally scribed on documents - AND USUALLY in front of witnesses.
In 1787, when the Constitution was written, there WAS no autopen, so when the following was written into the Constitution:
... Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it ... If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law ...
This CLEARLY states that the President MUST personally sign it - or wait 10 days for it to become law without his signature.
The Constitution ALSO states that:
... This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land ...
This means that the Constitution controls AS WRITTEN and as the Founders KNEW it to mean.
FORTUNATELY, the Founders provided for revision:
... The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress ...
This means that UNTIL the Constitution is amended, the meaning in the ORIGINAL text controls.
DOJ opinions don't mean squat - unless or until SCOTUS weighs in on this, the signature method is an unresolved matter.
HOWEVER, in Clinton v. City of New York, SCOTUS HAS stated that in order for a bill to become law - it MUST be signed by the President.
It is not irrelevant. It is an open issue - since SCOTUS has NOT ruled on it. It is NOT directly addressed by Stevens ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.
HOWEVER, the fairly recent ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller [2nd Amendment - Right To Bear Arms] WAS decided on the meaning of the ORIGINAL wording and ORIGINAL intent of the Founders, since the Constituiton HAD NOT been amended to further clarify the meaning the following:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
IF a challenge to the autopen is ever accepted by SCOTUS, it MIGHT likely be decided using the same criteria. What is the original meaning and original intent.
This is an issue of signature techonology, not of Constitutionality. If you want to amend the Constitution to require hand-signature by ball-point pen, have at it ... but the current Constitution does not address the issue.
Autopens did not exist in the 18th century - when the Founders said he had to sign it, they meant he had to personally sign it ...
They also said that you just could not deviate from the Constitution - unless by Amendment.
Ball point pens also did not exist in the 18th century. Every bill since the advent of ball point pens must be unconstitutional.
Signing by an implement other than quill & ink is not a deviation from the Constitution. No amendment is required because there is no langauge in the Constitution that needs to be changed to allow signature by ball-point pen or autopen.
The case law you cited is irrelevant. The line-item veto case had nothing to do with what qualifies as a Presidential signature. You’re quoting nonbinding dicta in Stevens ruling ... and it doesn’t even make the point you wish it did.
The original intent was that the President sign a bill to confirm his consent to its passage. Obama consented, and confirmed it by authorized autopen signature. Non-issue.
Heller is also irrelevant to this matter.
>> Can 2 blinks of his eye be construed as a yes if he is semi-conscious laying in intensive care, and thus authorizing legislation to become law?
We already have Constitutional provisions dealing with Presidential incapacity. We don’t need a novel interpretation of the signature requirement outlawing certain signature implements to deal with that scenario. That would be decided on a 25th amendment challenge to capacity, not the signature requirement.
Signature is signature. There is no question of whether Obama consented to the legislation, or Obama’s capacity to sign, or whether the signature was unauthorized or forged, or whatever. He signed it. He wanted to sign it. He had capacity to sign it. There is no question here to be answered. The founders intent with the signature requirement has been fulfilled.
>> If the anti-gun twits can say that the Second Amendment only applies to flintlock muskets, then the President must sign all legislation with a quill pen.
I was under the impression that they were wrong. Do you think the 2nd Amendment only applies to flintlock muskets?
Sorry Doc, ain’t buying it. If he does not personally sign legislation in front of witnesses, it didn’t happen.
As I said, the office of the POTUS is unique in all the world, and should be treated as such, not just another legal or industry drone.
>> This means that UNTIL the Constitution is amended, the meaning in the ORIGINAL text controls.
True. The original text is silent on signature implements. If you want to outlaw autopens, you need an amendment. The text doesn’t say what you seem to think it does.
Where are you going with this? What is your aim? The founders intent was that a bill be signed by the President to confirm his consent to making it law. Nobody disputes Obama’s consent. Nobody disputes authorization. Nobody disputes his capacity. Nobody disputes that he intended the bill to become law. Nobody disputes anything here. I don’t get your endgame.
What is the purpose in forcing him to put put a low-tech pen-to-paper rather than high-tech pen-to-paper? I really don’t think the founders gave a damn what he used to sign the bill so long as he consented to the bill becoming law.
Who said there were no witnesses?
Of course they are wrong. I was just presenting an analogy.
An “Auto Pen” is like a semi-automatic rifle. If Presidents can use Auto Pens, then citizens can keep and bear semi-automatic (and even automatic) rifles.
The argument seems better presented the other way, at least on this board ... if citizens can keep-and-bear semi-automatic rifles under the 2nd, then the President can use an autopen under the signature requirement.
Your argument is better stated that way to an anti-gun, pro-autopen audience ... like Obama himself.
The point is, technology can be fit in to Constitutional language, but it should be fit in consistently. Either the language includes technological advances for both guns and signature implements ... or it includes neither. It seems strange for a group (like The Weekly Standard) so vehemently committed to the 2nd’s inclusion of higher-tech weapons to be so vehemently opposed to the signature-requirement being fulfilled by higher-tech implements.
Maybe you should tell that to Obama.
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