Rise of the machines: Autopen puts bill into law, and touches off debate: Obama was at the G8 Summit when he had to sign a bill, so they had a robot sign for him.
With Obama an ocean away in Europe and time marching toward the stroke of midnight, the White House determined it was easiest to have his autopen get the job done – a tool that exactly mimics the president’s signature and is more commonly used to sign Christmas cards and letters to schoolchildren. Indeed, this is the first time the Obama administration has ever used the unique device for such weighty purposes as putting laws on the books.
Apparently, it’s all legit:
It was a matter the Justice Department considered in 2005, determining then that the word “sign” does not necessarily mean an active signature by the president himself. Rather, the Justice Department stated, “a person may sign a document by directing that his signature be affixed to it by another.”