Week Ending Friday, November 8, 2002

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Author: George W. Bush  | Date: November 2, 2002

Statement on Signing the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act,
November 2, 2002

Today I have signed into law H.R. 2215, entitled the "21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act." The Act grants and amends statutory authorities relating to Federal law enforcement activities and authorizes appropriations for the Department of Justice.

Section 202 of the Act adds a new section 530D to title 28, United States Code, that purports to impose on the executive branch substantial obligations for reporting to the Congress activities of the Department of Justice involving challenges to or nonenforcement of law that conflicts with the Constitution. The executive branch shall construe section 530D of title 28, and related provisions in section 202 of the Act, in a manner consistent with the constitutional authorities of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, the national security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive’s constitutional duties. To implement section 202(b)(3) of the Act, the Attorney General, on my behalf, shall advise the heads of executive agencies of the enactment of section 202 and of this direction concerning construction of that section and section 530D of title 28. Furthermore, section 202(a) requires that the President report to the Congress the issuance of any "unclassified Executive Order or similar memorandum or order" that establishes or implements a policy of intra-circuit non-acquiescence or of refraining from enforcing, applying, or administering a Federal statute, rule, regulation, program, or policy on the ground that it is unconstitutional. Based upon the text and structure of this section, the executive branch shall construe this reporting obligation to cover only unclassified orders in writing that are officially promulgated and are not included in the reports of the Attorney General or other Federal officers to whom this section applies.

Section 205(b) of the Act amends section 1913 of title 18, United States Code, relating to use of Federal appropriated funds for certain advocacy activities. Section 1913, as amended, does not prohibit the making of any communication whose prohibition by section 1913 "might, in the opinion of the Attorney General, violate the Constitution or interfere with the conduct of foreign policy, counter-intelligence, intelligence, or national security activities." This provision will accordingly be interpreted to avoid applications that might violate the Constitution or interfere with foreign policy and other functions. Further, the executive branch shall construe section 1913 as amended in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to conduct the Nation’s foreign affairs, to supervise the unitary executive branch, and to recommend to the consideration of the Congress such measures as the President shall judge necessary and expedient. Finally, section 1913 states that "violations of this section shall constitute violations of section 1352(a) of title 31." The only reasonable construction of this statutory language is that it makes applicable the penalties set forth in section 1352(a) to violations of section 1913, and the executive branch shall construe this provision accordingly.

Provisions in the Act, including sections 207(d), 309, and 11025(a), purport to require executive branch officials to submit to the Congress plans for internal executive branch activities or recommendations relating to legislation. The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authorities to supervise the unitary executive branch and to recommend for the consideration of the Congress such measures as the President judges necessary and expedient.

Section 402 of the Act adds sections 2002 and 2004 to the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which purport to give "final authority" to a subordinate of the Attorney General over certain grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts awarded by the subordinate’s office and to allow the Attorney General to act on behalf of the President to give the subordinate a role representing the U.S. Government at the United Nations and other international fora. The executive branch shall construe sections 2002 and 2004 in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authorities to supervise the unitary executive branch and to conduct the Nation’s foreign affairs and, subject to those authorities, with the Secretary of State’s authority pursuant to 22 U.S.C. section 2672.

Section 2301(c) of the Act requires the Attorney General to "devise a plan to implement recommendations of the General Accounting Office to" accomplish goals specified in the statute. Consistent with the principles enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1983 in INS v. Chadha, the executive branch shall construe section 2301(c) as referring only to recommendations of the GAO in existence at the time of enactment of the Act and as requiring the devising of a plan and submission of a report on the plan, but not implementation of the plan.

Section 2303(b) purports to give the Comptroller General, a legislative agent, a right of access to all relevant documents and information that the Comptroller General deems necessary in conducting a study required by the Act. The executive branch shall construe section 2303(b) in a manner consistent with the constitutional authorities of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, the national security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive’s constitutional duties.

Section 2504 purports to require the Attorney General to conduct a prosecutor exchange program with a foreign country. The executive branch shall construe section 2504 in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authorities to conduct the Nation’s foreign affairs, participate in international negotiations, and supervise the unitary executive branch.

Section 11015 of the Act purports to give U.S. Attorneys in certain circumstances "exclusive authority" to select an annuity broker for structured settlement purposes. The executive branch shall construe this section in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch.

Section 11026(c) of the Act purports to require all Federal law enforcement agencies to comply with requests from the General Accounting Office for certain information in the course of GAO preparation of a report on crime statistics. The executive branch shall construe section 11026(c) in a manner consistent with the constitutional authorities of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, the national security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive’s constitutional duties.

George W. Bush
The White House,
November 2, 2002.

Note: H.R. 2215, approved November 2, was assigned Public Law No. 107-273. This statement was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on November 4.

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Chicago: George W. Bush, "Statement on Signing the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act, November 2, 2002," Week Ending Friday, November 8, 2002 in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, November 8, 2002 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2002), 38:1971-1973 1972–1973. Original Sources, accessed February 27, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=YI16IHYMK66ZSWU.

MLA: Bush, George W. "Statement on Signing the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act, November 2, 2002." Week Ending Friday, November 8, 2002, in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, November 8, 2002 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2002), 38:1971-1973, pp. 1972–1973. Original Sources. 27 Feb. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=YI16IHYMK66ZSWU.

Harvard: Bush, GW, 'Statement on Signing the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act, November 2, 2002' in Week Ending Friday, November 8, 2002. cited in , United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, November 8, 2002 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2002), 38:1971-1973, pp.1972–1973. Original Sources, retrieved 27 February 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=YI16IHYMK66ZSWU.