Time to Fire Up the Ad Hoc Constitutional Generator

>> Sunday, January 10, 2010

What's especially rich about John Kyl holding up presidential appointments over trivial and irrelevant policy matters (in this case, a little stupid moralism about online gambling) is that Kyl was one of the many hacks who used to argue that the "advice and consent" clause of the Constitution solemnly required the Senate to give up or down votes to all presidential nominees. I look forward to Byron York's next attempt to argue that he is, in fact, being perfectly consistent.

The Constitution permits the Senate to vote (or not vote) on presidential nominees however it deems fit. But as I've said before, to the extent that there should be norms of deference to presidential appointments, they make much more sense in terms of executive branch appointments than to life-tenured appointments to an independent branch. While the Constitutional permits them, the norms and rules that permit individual Senators to hold up appointments to the executive branch are entirely indefensible on the merits, like so many Senate rules.


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