The New York Times on recess appointments

Of course, that was then: This from 2006 – doubtless we can expect the same editorial tomorrow.

Seizing the opportunity presented by the Congressional holiday break, Mr. Bush announced 17 recess appointments — a constitutional gimmick that allows a president to appoint someone when Congress is in recess to a job that normally requires Senate approval. The appointee serves until the next round of Congressional elections.

This end run around Senate confirmation was built into the Constitution to allow the president to quickly fill vacancies that came up when lawmakers were out of town, to keep the government running smoothly in times when travelers and mail moved by horseback and Congress met part time.

Modern presidents have employed this power to place nominees who ran into political trouble in the Senate. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton made scores of recess appointments. But both of them faced a Congress controlled by the opposition party, while the Senate has been under Republican control for Mr. Bush’s entire five years in office.

In some cases, Mr. Bush has used the recess appointment power to rescue egregiously bad selections that would never pass muster on grounds of experience and competence. (Remember last year’s recess appointment of the undiplomatic and Congressionally unacceptable John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations.) In other cases, he has merely sought to avoid logjams that the White House created for itself by refusing to accommodate reasonable Democratic requests for information, documents and consultation.

Among those Mr. Bush unilaterally elevated to important posts this time around was Julie Myers, a government lawyer with ultrathin credentials whom Mr. Bush appointed to head the 15,000-person Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the government’s second largest investigative force.

Also on the list was Ellen Sauerbrey, the unqualified political crony Mr. Bush chose to head the billion-dollar-a-year State Department office that helps coordinate emergency relief efforts for refugees abroad, and whose nomination had stalled for just cause in the Foreign Relations Committee.

Mr. Bush also bypassed Senate hearings on a new deputy defense secretary and for three of the six seats on the Federal Election Commission. The election commission appointees include Hans von Spakovsky, a Justice Department lawyer who overrode the objection of career lawyers to gain approval of a Georgia voter identification plan almost certain to harm black voters.

The White House regularly accuses Senate Democrats of unfairly blocking the president’s nominees, and it is true that one determined senator can freeze an appointment. But Mr. Bush’s record in this area owes less to unreasonable Democrats than to the low caliber of some of his choices, his disinterest in bipartisan consensus and his aversion to any form of accountability, whether to the Senate, the courts or the public.

UPDATE: welcome, InstaPundit readers. Monday through Friday, this blog is mostly (70% anyway) devoted to Greenwich, Ct real estate. Weekends are more political,both because there isn’t much real estate news to report and because I get bored spending all my time writing about overpriced mansions. But come back on Monday if you’re curious about what’s going on in Greenwich.


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9 responses to “The New York Times on recess appointments

  1. Pat Patterson

    Obviously the NYT must be using the same fact checkers today as the Republicans controlled the Senate for the 97th-99th Congress. They never controlled the House at any time. So it appears that there is an institutional bias against appointments rather than a political one.

  2. akw

    Thanks for posting this!! I keep a file of media bias, so I appreciate you pointing out this instance.

  3. Of course it is when the Republicans do it!! However, the Republicans could have stopped this if they would have kept someone in Washington and kept congress in session, like the Dem’s did with Bush. However, Bush never put socialists in the government like obamao.

  4. Tickedoff2

    Thank you very much for posting this article showing the abject bias and disrespect the NYT — and the enemedia as a whole — showed President Bush.

    Stand up and be counted you republicans, or be cast out with the rest of the trash!

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  8. Loki1

    The quote from the Times about “…his [Bush’s] disinterest in bipartisan consensus. . .” suggests that the NYT doesn’t really know that the word “disinterest” means “impartiality”, according to no less an authority than Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style”. Or perhaps The Times subscribes to the thought of Humpty Dumpty, in Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland: “When I use a word, it means exactly what I want it to mean, neither more nor less.”

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