Saturday, December 22, 2007

What Has To Be Done To Keep Bush In Check

In a sad commentary on American political life, CNN reported today on what the U.S. Senate has had to do to control President Bush. The Senate is being kept open through mid-January using a series of "pro forma" sessions. These sessions last about a minute, and involve a senate member opening a Senate session and then immediately closing it.

Sound like a waste? It certainly does to me. But it's what is necessary in order to prevent the President from making "recess appointments" - a constitutional mechanism allowing the president, during congragational recesses, to fill top appointments for up to one year and to avoid a Senate confirmation.

And wouldn't you know it, the real issue is about the President's support of torture. The Senate would have allowed the President to make dozens of recess appointments, but the President indicated that he would appoint Steven Bradbury to be the permanent head of the Office of legal Counsel at the Justice Department. Mr. Bradbury has been involved in crafting legal opinions on the use of torture in interrogating terrorism suspects.

Similar sessions were conducted over the Thanksgiving recess for the same reason.

Kudos to Senator Harry Reid for keeping the Senate open. The last thing we need is another John Bolton type appointment.


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