2007/04/05

Recess Appointments - Tool of the Imperial Executive

No president in modern history has eschewed the recess appointment as a method of filling key executive positions, but when it comes to nominating divisive ideologues, The Decider has a lock. Not one day after our highest court slapped Bu$hCo down in Massachusetts v. EPA, Bush appoints 3 industry anti-environmentalists to key regulatory positions--almost as if to say, "Screw the Supreme Court. Here's how it's going to be tree-huggers!"

It goes without saying that there is almost no chance these three--William Wehrum, a chemical industry lawyer appointed to head the EPA's air quality division; Alex Beehler, a former Pentagon official and oil company executive who will head the EPA inspector general's office, and Susan Dudley, who will head the OMB's government rules review division--could get confirmed on their own. They have deep ties to the chemical and oil industries, and their opposition to environmental regulation is well documented, but that's OK for an administration that may take the title of 'King of Recess Appointments," away from Ronald Reagan (243).

The recess appointment was originally intended to deal with the fact that Congress had short sessions and long recesses. It was a method of keeping the executive functioning while the legislative was out making a living, but in modern times it's become just another way for presidents to do an end run around Congress. And for Bush, on track to make yet again 50% more recess appointments than his predecessor, it advances a hard-right agenda that Bush lacks the talent to support in the open.

Updated 2007/04/05, 12:26p -

BHFRK @ Club Lefty makes two additional excellent points about Bush's recess appointments. First he notes that Bush is the first president to make an appointment during a recess of less than 10 days, an unprecedented move. Second, Bush's usurpation of congressional authority is all the worse because Bush appoints people who have been rejected by the Senate. In other words, Bush simply ignores the will of Congress and the intent of the Constitution to get his way.

14 Comments:

This is so appropriate. Bush is like a child, and one way of describing his politics is "schoolboy." So it makes perfect sense that he would be great at recess! Not so good at science. Or working well with others (diplomacy). And he gets into a lot of fights. Plus there's the attitude problem. But he RULES recess, baby!
Great post. Speaking of the "King of Recess Appointments," check out the picture for my post today.
His recess appointment of Sam Fox (of Swift Boater fame) to the Belgium ambassadorship may be illegal according to a post on Think Progress this morning. Illegal. Why does that not surprise me?
Mr_Blog... I like it. "Bush RULES recess, baby!" How appropriate.

James... Thanks, I'll be right over to take a look.

Kathy... Illegal? Hadn't heard that yet. That would certainly be interesting. Wonder if it's ever happened before? I mean, Clinton wasn't without controversial appointments but had few that were the appointees themselves were so openly partisan.
Even WITH oversight, the Cheney menstruation keeps marching toward fascist one party rule. Unbelievably arrogant.
Hey there Kvatch, I am honored you linked to Club Lefty. Thank you.
On the illegality of the Fox appointment... that is because the only way for Bush to be able to make that appointment was for Fox to serve without pay. However there are laws which say that a person may not serve as a volunteer in a position which has a set payscale, as do ambassadorships. It's hard to imagine how they will get around that...
Just like a little kid waiting until mommy's back is turned and then snatching all the cookies his fat little hands can get. I hope congress puts the kibosh on this and quickly.
Undeniable Liberal... Arrogant and petulant, IMHO.

BHFRIK... It was my pleasure. As usual you had the insights that I often can't seem to find. Though legal, you were very right in pointing out that appointing someone whose been rejected by Congress is just flat out wrong.
Doodz been reading Andrew Johnson's playbook.
Peacechick... Not sure how they can. Though objectionable, it's totally constitutional.

Fred... Really, I didn't know that. I thought that Bush was more like Reagan, at least in volume.
Bush simply ignores the will of Congress and the intent of the Constitution to get his way.
He gets bolder and bolder. Now a week vacation is a "recess." Why does he get bolder and bolder? Because he knows there is nobody in this country that will stand up to him. They only whine and make toothless threats during the latest news cycle.

This is tinfoil helment....but what if......

Nancy introduced articles of impeachment, they went no where of course, and she took the case to the supreme court with all her evidence of criminal activity, charging every Republican who voted against impeachment with aiding and abetting a known criminal????

that's my idea of standing up to him.
I think these recess appointments ought to be as illegal as the "signing statements".
...charging every Republican who voted against impeachment with aiding and abetting a known criminal????


TFWY... Ironicalloy, I explored just that notion with a post that I did back in May of last year.

Snave... No argument from me. BHFRK pointed out quite correctly that the expressly thwart the will of Congress.

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