Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Democrats, Filibusters and Recess Appointments

Over at Hoystory, Matthew Hoy reminds us (once again!) of the Democrats' lack both of consistent positions and memory. It appears that despite their sudden distaste of the recess appointment for someone (John Bolton) who would easily be confirmed by the full Senate, Democrats are not at all averse to using this tool for someone who would NOT be confirmed by the full Senate.

The case in question is the nomination of Bill Lamm Lee, a 1996 Clinton-era appointee to the post of Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Opposed by the majority Republican Senate of the time, minority Democrats actually filibustered Lee (to prevent him from being brought to a up-or-down vote wherein he would surely have been defeated) and then the President used recess appointments both for the acting assistant A.G. position and later to promote Lee to Attorney General! In fact, in his introduction, then-President Clinton specifically said,
My constitutional right and responsibility as President is to put in office men and women who will further our policies consistent with our obligations under the Constitution. Some people want to wait for me to appoint someone to this position whom I disagree with. But America cannot afford to wait that long.

He continued by saying,
In the coming months, I will resubmit Mr. Lee's nomination to the Senate. I will be pressing very hard for a straight up or down vote, and I am confident that once the Senate and the American people are given a fair chance to judge Mr. Lee's performance, he will be confirmed.

So in other words, Democrats have no problem with recess appointments when it is their nominees, even if a majority in the Senate disagrees (as was the case in 1997)! Furthermore, according to President Clinton, "a straight up or down vote" is necessary. Where is that sentiment gone, O Democratic Party? it appears that when it a dastardly Republican, then the minority is justified in using any tactic to block that individual. How soon they forget....

Hat tip to the guys at Power Line.

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