Autopen Signs Patriot Act Extension; Update: Ruh roh! Robo-bama challenged, Auto Pen gets its own Twitter account
**Written by Doug Powers
President Obama is over in France and wasn’t in Washington to sign the extension of the Patriot Act that was to expire at midnight, so it was signed with an “autopen.”
What a great excuse to offer the inevitable criticism he’ll get, much of it from his own base: “But I didn’t sign it — Robobama did”:
President Obama, currently on an overseas trip, is not at the White House to sign the bill, a requirement for the measure to become law.
So the White House will use an autopen –- a machine that replicates Obama’s signature -– to sign the extension, according to White House spokesman Nick Shapiro.
Jay Wexler, a Boston University law professor and author of “The Odd Clauses: Understanding the Constitution Through Ten of Its Most Curious Provisions,” says the constitutionality of using an autopen was confirmed in a thorough 2005 Office of Legal Counsel opinion.
No word yet on whether or not the autopen accidentally dated its signature 2008.
It’s possible that eventually TOTUS and the autopen will become completely self-aware, but I won’t assume that would be a bad thing. Maybe they’d sign a repeal of the health care law — you never know.
**Written by Doug Powers
Update (MM): GOP Rep. Tom Graves questions the constitutional authority of Robobama:
Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) is questioning President Obama’s use of an autopen in signing an extension of the Patriot Act.
In a letter Friday, Graves asks Obama to confirm that he saw the law prior to its autopen signing.
“Mr. President, I write to request your confirmation that S. 990, as passed by Congress, was presented to you prior to the autopen signing, as well as a detailed, written explanation of your Constitutional authority to assign a surrogate the responsibility of signing bills passed into law,” Graves wrote.
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