The Senate Confirmation Process is Broken
Posted at 8:45 a.m. on Nov. 20, 2012
As President Obama prepares for the high personnel turnover that comes with a second term, Cass Sunstein makes the case that it is time to streamline the Senate confirmation process.
“An unfortunate consequence of Senate obstructionism is that important offices can remain unfilled for long periods… The confirmation process also has a damaging effect on the president’s thinking. His question can’t only be, ‘Who would be the best person for the job?’… Nor can we ignore the deterrent effect of the confirmation process on honorable and highly qualified people.”
How to fix the problem: “First, it should reduce the intensity of its scrutiny. To that end, Democrats and Republicans should agree to adopt a strong presumption (rebuttable, but strong) in favor of confirming executive branch nominees. Second, the Senate should amend its rules to forbid a single senator, or a small group, from placing a hold on a nominee to an executive branch position. Third, the Senate should ensure that every executive branch nominee is given a prompt up-or-down vote, probably within two months of the nomination date.”