As reported last night by ABC News, President Obama has signed an bill extending the Patriot Act using an autopen because he’s in France and cannot sign it personally. As I reported a while back, the Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion during the Bush Administration saying that the President does not violate Article I, section 7 by “signing” a bill into law in this way.
Thanks ABC News for citing and linking to Odd Clauses Watch. You are nice, ABC News. Many people have come to the blog because of you, and if we ever happen to meet, please let me buy you a fruit juice.
Interestingly, the author of the OLC opinion, Howard Nielson, and I clerked together at the Court back in 1998-1999. He clerked for Justice Kennedy while I was clerking for Justice Ginsburg. He is, as we say in Peabody Massachusetts where I grew up, wicked pissah consevaaaahhtive, and thus we disagree on many things, but this opinion on the autopen is very well done and solid. Hi Howard.