Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bush Craps on Constitution... Again

Today, Bush made three "recess appointments." All three were rejected by the Senate - never made it through committee. Sam Fox, the a major donor of the "swiftboat veterans for truth" sleaze campaign, was appointed ambassador. Andrew Biggs, proponent of privatizing Social Security and former Cato Institute crony is now deputy in charge of social security services. And Susan Dudley was appointed to OMB's regulation arm.

Let us make no mistake. These appointments are flatly unconstitutional. The constitution provides for the president to make such appointments only when Congress, by adjourning, prevents him from getting their approval. The Senate has rejected these, and it's just on a week-long Easter break. So this isn't Bush filling a void, it's Bush circumventing the constitutional requirement of Senate approval. Bush acts as if all he need do is wait until the Senate leave town for a few days and he can abandon the 220 year requirement of Senate confirmation. This is just another example of the GOP's basic lawlessness. Bush intends to destroy the power of the Senate to confirm appointments by doing them all as "recess" appointments on holidays.

I believe Harry Reid will not take this sitting down. Expect the Senate to avoid recessing without getting promises that the President will obey the constitution during their absence. Expect his other appointees to be totally stalled until he relents. Reid is a fighter. Even Senate Republicans must fear the precedent- the idea that Senate approval is an appendage to be removed.

Next up: recess appointment for a Supreme Court justice. That has been done 15 times before. The last time that was done was 1958. But in all instances it was a genuine recess appointment - not someone rejected by the Senate, or certain of Senate rejection, but someone who was subsequently confirmed by the Senate. Only five of those appointees even took their seats before Senate confirmation. This is not a precedent for avoiding the Senate; it's a relic of a time when supreme court confirmations were not particularly political.

The only recess appointee not immediately confirmed by the Senate was John Rutledge in 1795. He was appointed by Washington and presided as Chief Justice for four months. He took the opportunity to lambaste the treaty his immediate predecessor, John Jay, had negotiated with Britain for the Washington administration. The Senate rejected him (with Washington's tacit approval).


Anonymous said...

They never cease to amaze.

Apologies for adding this in on the wrong post, but I am surprised none of The Citizens have yet commented on the latest from Gitmo: the first conviction. David Hicks -- an Australian and hence getting loads of news over here -- has been given a nine-month sentence in a plea bargain after being held for five years. Interestingly the plea bargain included a year-long gag on him speaking to the media, assurance that he would not mention torture and maltreatment, and involved the commission organisation going around their own prosecution team. Is this another possible thread?

The Spotted Handfish

Anonymous said...

Chris Dodd is already calling it unconstitutional.

"It is outrageous that the President has sought to stealthily appoint Sam Fox to the position of ambassador to Belgium when the President formally requested that the Fox nomination be withdrawn from the Senate because it was facing certain defeat in the Foreign Relations Committee last week. I seriously question the legality of the President's use of the recess appointment authority in this instance. I intend to seek an opinion on the legality of this appointment from the General Accountability Office and invite other Senators to join with me in that request. This is underhanded and an abuse of Executive authority — sadly this behavior has become the hallmark of this administration."

- BC

USWest said...

You know, Bush is planning on vetoing the congressionally approved "war funding" bill. I wonder if this wasn't a cynical move to create some chips with which the Administration can bargain.

It has the triple benefit, if it works. The Administration gets its cronies in key positions, undermining Congress, while creating the bargaining chips.

What does the Administration stand to loose? Very little. They will look bad in the middle pages of the four national news papers. They will be challenged in Congress, but big deal to an Administration that cares precious little for Congress. They will tie Congress up in legal proceedings while these appointments stand. And in a year and a half they will be gone and their appointees will have had plenty of time to wreak havoc at OMB and Social Security. That is all they want. This is the danger when no one in the Administration is looking to get re-elected and you have a mentally troubled and challenged President.

As a recent CBC production called, “The Unauthorized Biography of Dick Cheney” said, “It’s Cheney’s world. The rest of us just get to live here.” Well, that nearly says it all.

USWest said...

I love the headline on this post. It cracks me up for some reason. Maybe it is the alliteration