A bill that passed through the Senate last week - the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act - would make it more difficult for homeowners to challenge bank foreclosures if President Obama signs it into law. Specifically, the bill says that the courts must accept digital notarization done by electronic means (in another state, no less).
This means that anyone with the right software could notarize a digital document, or image of a document, without watching or actually validating in person that specific procedures and due diligence were followed. As you can imagine, this could create an even bigger environment for fraud ... while putting a stamp of approval on the fraud that's already happened (in what's being called "Foreclosure Gate").
So this is what we're looking at. Once a notary signs and gives the banks legal cover for saying "everything's on the up and up" there's little recourse for a homeowner, other than spending more money to fight or challenge suspected fraud.
But even this option would become more difficult if you've already been foreclosed on and kicked out of your house, which this bill would facilitate. Kind of like calling the fire department after your house has burned down.
Ultimately, this bill would raise the bar for homeowners who want to challeng the legality of documents that the banks claim were prepared properly. That this is being shoved in front of President Obama when banks have already been caught forging documents and lying about what they've done with homeowner documents should raise all kinds of red flags.
At the end of the day, the right and authority to challenge foreclosures would be more difficult for homeowners - who are already under stress with job insecurity, mortgages that are underwater, and collapsing home prices - if the president signs the bill.
President Obama needs to veto this bill.