Via Emily Miller:
President Obama diminished the relevance of his office on Thursday with the stroke of a robotic pen. He became the first commander in chief to hand off bill-signing duties to a machine because he happened to be in France when the House gave final passage to a bill extending the Patriot Act just four hours before the midnight expiration date for several provisions.
At 11:53 p.m., the White House press office released a statement claiming, “the president signed into law” the act. In reality, a device mimicked Mr. Obama’s signature onto the enrolled bill. White House spokesman Nick Shapiro told The Washington Times that an autopen was used because “failure to sign this legislation posed a significant risk to U.S. national security.” Mr. Shapiro said that an aide met with the president at 5:45 a.m. (local time in France), and that “the president reviewed and approved the legislation” and directed the aide “in writing to use the autopen to sign the bill so it could be signed into law before the deadline.”
Rep. Tom Graves questions the legitimacy of this novel procedure. “I believe President Obama should have excused himself from France early and paid the American people the proper level of respect by personally signing the controversial Patriot Act,” the Georgia Republican told The Washington Times. Mr. Graves sent Mr. Obama a letter asking for a detailed explanation for his action, but he hasn’t heard back.
The president’s role in the legislative process is defined in the U.S. 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.”
Read the full story at MILLER: The autopen president – Washington Times.
- Obama to sign Patriot Act extension … via autopen (politisite.com)
- Autopen Signs Patriot Act Extension (michellemalkin.com)