Candidate Obama bitterly criticized George Bush for his practice of issuing signing statements when inking bills. The practice holds that a president has a right to interpret certain sections of laws that may conflict with the intent of congress.
It's a very gray area if only because congress often refuses to be specific, leaving the details to the bureaucracy to sort out.
But President Obama's signing statement that ignores his ban on czars is different. That's because the ban includes no monies being appropriated to pay for the czars. How is he going to fund the czars if congress refuses to do so?
"The president also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it," the statement said.
"Legislative efforts that significantly impede the president's ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the president's ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Therefore, the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these presidential prerogatives."
The White House saw this coming months ago and reorganized the staff, giving the czars new titles and bringing them under the umbrella of executive branch employment. In effect, the Republicans won this round, although Obama's signing statement shows that he reserves to right to name additional czars if he thinks he needs them.