Print Issue Volume 91 - No. 6

Note, From Deference to Restraint: Using the Chevron Framework to Evaluate Presidential Signing Statements

Presidential signing statements are creeping into judicial opinions with increasing frequency, leading to a resurgence of interest in the issue and several attempts, by Congress and others, to limit the use of signing statements or to challenge their constitutionality. This Note contends that the paramount separation of powers concern raised by signing statements is the conference of legislative power in the hands of the President through judicial consideration of signing statements in interpreting statutes. By analogizing signing statements to agency interpretations, this Note proposes the use of the Chevron framework as an analytical tool to guide courts in evaluating signing statements. Such use of the Chevron framework is consistent with the doctrine’s underlying rationales and works to minimize subjectivity in judicial analysis through Chevron’s requirements of statutory ambiguity and interpretive reason.

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