Monday, December 04, 2006
Bolton occupies the position as a result of a recess appointment by the President, which expires at the end of the current Congress. Because of opposition by a handful of Senators, some on ideological grounds, some due to personal dislike and some just to be a PIA, Bolton's appointment never made it to the floor of the Senate for an up-or-down vote. I don't think the Founding Fathers had this kind of thing in mind when they wrote the advice and consent clause into the Constitution. I think they wanted each appointee to be scrutinized by the entire Senate and the collective wisdom of that body applied in deciding whether to approve the nomination.
It's cases like this that lead me to favor a Constitutional amendment requiring an up-or-down vote on every appointee whose nomination falls under the advice and consent clause, within 90 calendar days after the President formally submits the nomination for Senate approval. Matters like this are too important to be left to the rules of the Senate, which nobody (with the possible exception of Bobby Byrd (D-WV) fully understands. It should never be possible for a few Senators with a political or personal agenda to hold up a nomination the way Bolton's was held up.