Open this article for blogging, beginning at 10:15 a.m. ET.

10:13 a.m. I'm in the room, but you can view a live webcast here. I've just been handed hardcopies of the upcoming witness statements. If you can find them online anywhere, please post a link beneath this article.

10:15 a.m. Witness list: John Elwood, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Dept. of Justice

Hon. Mickey Edwards, former member of Congress, Aspen Institute

Karen J. Mathis, President, American Bar Association

Professor Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Assoc. Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Professor Charles Ogletree, Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

10:25: Elwood is going to claim that Bush uses signing statements "occasionally, and in a manner "indistinguishable from that of previous presidents. He is going to claim that Congress has been passing bills that unconstitutionally restrict the pool from which the president may select candidates for positions and that unconstitutionally require approval of a law by a committee, but what do these examples have to do with the signing statements on torture, spying, letter-reading, funding the war, etc., etc.

Conyers opened by honoring Father Drinan.

10:31: Conyers' opening statement is excellent. He's reading it as prepared:

"This president has tried to take unto himself absolute authority on issues such as surveillance, privacy, torture, enemy combatants, and rendition…."

Conyers says he will demand an explanation for each signing statement, including those on torture, opening mail,

Will ask his staff and Ranking Member Smith's staff to meet with the Dept. of Justice on this.

AND I HOPE he will ask Elwood today.

Conyers cites 141 signing statements reversing over 800 provisions.

ABA finds this contrary to the rule of law and the Constitutional separation of powers.

"…systematic, extraconstitutional mode of conduct by the White House…

10:36: Ranking member Lamar Smith claims that Bush's signing statements are legal and that no court has said otherwise, and that Hamdan v Rumsfeld notably ignored signing statements.

Smith cites a CRS report that indicates that signing statements do not alter the meaning of laws. (But then Bush's behavior has been contrary to many laws.)

Claims noone can cite a single instant in which Bush has violated a law (!!). (Bush himself says he violated FISA.)

Claims this is all about policy disagreements. (But how has Bush changed policies of laws without violating or altering those laws?)

10:40: Dem. Rep. Jerrold Nadler cites ruling that President cannot alter laws, and cites US Constitution on roles of government's branches.

President has gone "from arrogance to lawlessness." Example of FISA violations and signing statement. FISA violations are felonies. Statute of limitations runs considerably beyond the lifetime of this Administration.

10:43: Rep. Rep. Franks cites presidential oath and claims it requires president to refuse to enforce unconstitutional statutes. Cites Clinton lawyers, claims Clinton issued 391 signing statements, claims signing statements are and should be more common in "times of war," cites Lawrence Tribe.

10:44: Conyers said additional statements could be submitted in writing. A Republican objected, and Conyers cited 40-years of tradition. Experience and knowledge are powerful things. Conyers is introducing the witnesses now.

10:48: after a brief summary of his statement from Ellwood, Edwards began. He nailed it. This is not like previous presidents' use of signing statements.

10:55: If agencies refuse to inform the Congress, as the AG just did on FISA, how can Congress know whether violations are occuring? And Presidential assertions to not be bound by the war, must be challenged or they become precedent.

I agree with most of this president's positions. I may not agree with those of the next president.

"..the Congress of the United States will become irrelevant and the basic structure of American government will have been fundamentally changed…."

That's Bob Fertik of and Tim Carpenter of Progressive Democrats of America

11:00 Mathis says ABA's unanimous decision is that Bush is violating the law.

President is usurping the power of the legislative branch by denying the Congress the opportunity to override a veto.

Mathis made sensible recommendations for how signing statements SHOULD be used.

Rosenkranz agrees with Elwood. This is a "balanced" hearing. If the news reports will be anything else, it will be either because of what happens in the Q and A or because the media miraculously defers to Congressional authority of Democrats the way it has for Republicans.

Notes that Rep. Shiela Jackson Lee has introduced a bill on this topic. Claims that banning use of funds for signing statements is unconstitutional, as well as every other section of the bill.

11:07: Ogletree began: honored Father Drinan. Speaks favorably of Jackson-Lee's bill and Sen. Arlen Specter's.

Ogletree says the numbers are:
1100 provisions challenging laws
Over 150 signing statements

Number of vetoes: Clinton 37, Bush I. 44, Bush II. 1

Ogletree says the numbers are:
1100 provisions challenging laws
Over 150 signing statements

Number of vetoes: Clinton 37, Bush I. 44, Bush II. 1

Defense Appropriation Bill banned torture. Bush's statement made clear he would not be bound by that.

Atomic Energy Act. Indian Government interpreted the law based on Bush's signing statement. Governments are now confused as to what our laws are, and must fear that a new president will change the law.

Ability to read the mail another example.

11:12: Conyers to Elwood: A signiong statement allows Bush to withold information from Congress. Has Admin witheld any information?

Elwood: No.

Conyers cites 148 signing statements.

11:20: Smith dwells on lack of court rulings on this topic.

11:25: Nadler asks how a President can enforce a law he sees as unconstitutional. Nadler also grills Mathis. Nadler asked Elwood whether DOJ was issuing statements about each signing statement, as required – Nadler says – by law. Elwood said no. And asked Elwood to justify the secrecy involved in not issuing statements.

Sensenbrenner says signing statements no big deal even though extra-constitutional, as are committee statements. Cites Tribe (again) and submits his op-ed from the Globe.

11:40 Bobby Scott (Dem, Virginia) asking witnesses whether Prez should enforce an unconstitutional section of a bill he signs. Witnesses insist he violates his oath if he signs the bill.

Can Congress create a court case prior to the President acting based on a signing statement? One witness said no. (But if President's actions are secret, isn't that carte blanche?)

11:41: Adjourned until 12:30