President-elect Barack Obama is expected to move swiftly to reverse executive orders regarding torture of terror suspects, the military prison at Guantanamo Bay and other controversial security policies, sources close to his transition said, in dramatic gestures aimed at reversing President Bush’s accumulation of executive power.
Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) said he’s been informed that President Obama will support his proposed legislation to make public some opinions from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which issued some of the Bush Administration's most sweeping claims of executive power. Obama also has promised to limit President Bush's practice of using "signing statements" to amend legislation.
"Every day we get indications that they're serious about reversing the abuses of the Constitution," Feingold, a harsh Bush critic, told Politico. Feingold said Obama's staff told him to expect executive orders rapidly reversing Bush policies on the interrogation and detention of terror suspects, and on keeping the records of past presidents secret. He declined to be more specific.
"I don't know in what order or how fast" Obama’s executive orders could come, he said. "It'll be important that a couple of them be done immediately, and I think they will be, to show there's a strong break from the current policy."
Chris Lu, executive director of Obama’s transition team, told supporters in a conference call earlier this month that Obama’s aides have “started developing executive orders that the pres elect is considering –not only ones the President-elect will sign after January 20, but also ones we will want to repeal."