Justin Yang is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.
The President of the United States effectively has one formal legislative power—he can sign or veto any bill passed by Congress. This power fits within the general scheme of the separation of powers, where the President can check Congress’ legislative actions. Of course, as time has passed, the President has gained more powers that resemble lawmaking, from heading administrative agencies that introduce regulations to issuing executive orders. Another practice that arguably is legislative is the President’s ability to attach signing statements to bills he has approved. These signing statements are written pronouncements that communicate the President’s thoughts on a bill, ranging from commenting on a bill’s effectiveness to pointing out perceived constitutional deficiencies and explaining how he will interpret and execute the law. This raises questions on whether the President has overstepped his powers and whether signing statements are unconstitutional.