Concerning Obama's robo-signing of the Patriot Act, the Los Angeles Times reports:
That didn't sit well with Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), who is fairly sure the Framers didn't use autopens. He wrote a letter to Obama Friday asking him to cite the legal authority for using an automated pen instead of the real thing.When will Congressman Graves pursue this line of thought further by inquiring how the constitutional phrase "the Congress shall have power… to declare war" can possibly be interpreted as permitting that power to be either delegated by Congress or commandeered from it?
"I thought it was a joke at first, but the president did, in fact, authorize an autopen to sign the Patriot Act extension into law," Graves said in a statement Friday. "Consider the dangerous precedent this sets. Any number of circumstances could arise in the future where the public could question whether or not the president authorized the use of an autopen. For example, if the president is hospitalized and not fully alert, can a group of aggressive Cabinet members interpret a wink or a squeeze of the hand as approval of an autopen signing? I am very concerned about what this means for future presidential orders, whether they be signing bills into law, military orders, or executive orders."
For its part, the White House insisted that the automated signing was necessary to avoid any lapse in the Patriot Act's investigative provisions.
"I have requested that President Obama provide a detailed explanation of his authority to delegate this responsibility to a surrogate, whether it is human, machine, or otherwise,” Graves said.