Signing Statements as Bargaining Outcomes

Now forthcoming at Presidential Studies Quarterly:

Recent studies have documented how presidents issue signing statements. A president might
try to bend policy closer to his own position through shaping how bureaucrats use their discretion to implement a law. Later in time, it may serve as a defense if it shapes how judges decide whether a particular interpretation is consistent with the Constitution. A president may construct more detailed and complex statements when his ideal point is distant from Congress. I test this hypothesis and others using data from the George W. Bush administration between 2001 and 2006. Both the number of objections applied to a given bill and their complexity increase when the president is distant from Congress.

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