President Bush’s use of signing statements
A. threatened the separation of powers system.
B. was a strictly ceremonial act with no significance.
C. helped to clarify for executive agencies how they are to implement laws.
D. created agreements between presidents and the heads of foreign governments.
E. was a traditional action taken by presidents to signify their agreement with Congress.
A signing statement occurs when a president signs a bill and makes general comments about the bill. It really has no impact on the bill since once it is signed, the provisions of the bill go into effect.
Sometimes a president may suggest he won’t enforce a part of the bill that he doesn’t like. However, since the president isn’t writing or revising the law, there is no threat to the separation of powers portion of the Constitution. However, if a president doesn’t enforce a part of a law, this is not a good thing. Experts feel a president should veto a bill if he doesn’t like it or intend to enforce it.
Thus, the best answer to the question in my opinion is the second choice, answer B.
Some critics argue that the proper presidential action is either to veto the legislation (Constitution, Article I, section 7) or to “faithfully execute” the laws (Constitution, Article II, section 3). (John T. Woolley, "Presidential Signing Statements")
Since some presidents have used signing statements to challenge laws, answer choice A could also be thought of as correct in some views. Some experts believe signing statements do threaten the separation of powers according to a 2006 American Bar Association task force.