Bush bypassed those annoying Democrat senators today and gave a recess appointment to U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Democrats are, predictably, outraged by the move.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, criticized the recess appointment.
"The abuse of power and the cloak of secrecy from the White House continues," Kennedy said in a statement.
"It's bad enough that the administration stonewalled the Senate by refusing to disclose documents highly relevant to the Bolton nomination. It's even worse for the administration to abuse the recess appointment power by making the appointment while Congress is in this five-week recess. It's a devious maneuver that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate consent and only further darkens the cloud over Mr. Bolton's credibility at the U.N."
Bush "stonewalled the Senate?" Talk about projection. A majority of senators approved of Bolton's nomination, instead, a minority of Senators "stonewalled" the president by refusing to hold a vote.
It's interesting to compare this situation with that of Bill Lann Lee during the Clinton administration. Clinton had nominated Lee to the position of deputy attorney general for civil rights. Lee, a NAACP lawyer, was an advocate for racial preferences -- and even expressed support for quotas, illegal under federal law.
Unlike Bolton, who had the support of a majority of Senators, Lee would've been defeated if he had come up for a vote. Instead, Democrats filibustered Lee to prevent his defeat and Clinton gave him a recess appointment to a job that he wouldn't have had had the Senate been allowed to express its will by a Democrat minority.
Sen. Kennedy, unsurprisingly, was not troubled by this "devious maneuver that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate consent."
*UPDATE* After further review, Clinton named Lee â€œactingâ€ attorney general in 1997, and later used a recess appointment to put Lee in place for the remainder of his second term.