The First Amendment issues are interesting, but what caught my eye was the following passage from the article:
When President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law, he issued a statement instructing the Justice Department to limit prosecutions to “wanton cruelty to animals designed to appeal to a prurient interest in sex.”
Whatever else may be said of presidential signing statements, they do not bind the next administration. The current Justice Department has pursued at least three prosecutions under the law, all involving videos of dogfights.
In other words, through the statement he issued when he signed the bill into law, Clinton sought to unilaterally narrow the scope of the law that Congress had just passed. Funny: I remember that when President Bush issued such signing statements, we were told that it reflected an "imperial vision of the presidency over the will of America's elected lawmakers" and an "attempt to unilaterally reorder the constitutional balance." It will be interesting to see what the socially acceptable position on signing statements will be in the Obama administration.