A Recess Appointment to Replace Gonzales?

Bush wouldn't dare, right? Josh Marshall says don't be surprised if Bush uses a recess appointment to name the next Attorney General, bypassing the need for Senate confirmation.

My take: Of course he would. What's he got to lose? He's already a lame duck. The Republicans didn't stand up for Gonzales, why should Bush care whether they catch flak over a recess appointment when 2008 comes around?

All this talk by Schumer and others about appointing a non-political Attorney General who will uphold the rule of law, as I said earlier, is just more verbiage. It sounds good but it will never happen so long as Bush is in office.

One of the perks of being President is getting to name your cabinet members. Bush isn't going to let anyone stand in his way. He might sound the Dems out on his replacement pick, but if they say no, I think he'll just go ahead by way of recess appointment. He hasn't cared what the Dems think about anything else, why would he start now?

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    And... (2.00 / 1) (#20)
    by jarober on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:39:59 PM EST
    TL might want to look in a mirror and wonder why appointments have such trouble getting through.

    Then, next time a Democrat gets the Presidency, you can see if you can figure out why Republicans are reflexively opposing all appointments.

    Can't figure it out? (4.00 / 1) (#21)
    by glanton on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:50:53 PM EST
    Then, next time a Democrat gets the Presidency, you can see if you can figure out why Republicans are reflexively opposing all appointments.

    It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the demonstrable ineptitude and cronyism that has plagued these appointments throughout this Administration?  


    Won't matter much if they're down to 40-45 seats (none / 0) (#35)
    by kovie on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 04:19:13 PM EST
    Which is highly likely through '13, given the numerical advantage Dems have in senate elections and the current political climate. Repubs are going to have an awfully hard time of mounting successful filibusters with so few seats.

    Then again, they are fascists and they do march in lockstep. Dems have to find ways of using carrots and sticks to keep them from making too much trouble. They'll need a better majority leader to do that, I think.


    Agree 1000% (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:05:53 PM EST

    Of course he would. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Geekesque on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:06:52 PM EST
    The phrase "he wouldn't dare" is inoperable when applied to the presidency until January 2009 or  a 2/3 vote of the Senate to remove him and Cheney, whichever happens first.

    No recess appointment possible. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Roger Mexico on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:07:26 PM EST
    Gonzales said in his presser that his resignation is effective Sept. 17. Congress is back in session next week. So... unless there's some way to have two Attorneys General sitting at the same time, it seems impossible. But I await correction from those more paranoid than me.

    the Sept. 17 date is not cast in stone (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:10:09 PM EST
    He'll just move it up if Bush appoints someone else.

    Never thought of that (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:11:43 PM EST
    but these guys follow no playbook but the one they make up.

    The administration's m.o. so far (none / 0) (#12)
    by Maryb2004 on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:18:48 PM EST
    has been to confuse the public with procedural moves that hide what they are doing and offer them some cover.  The public doesn't understand contempt of Congress.  But they do understand going back on your word after you made a very public deal.

    What you are suggesting is the equivalent of public declaration of war rather than this guerilla war that they've been waging against the constitution.  I don't see that happening.  


    I disagree that this will be happening (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:46:59 PM EST
    It defeats the purpose of having Gonzo resign.

    Consider that despite tough questioning, Chertoff, for example, is almost certain to be confirmed.


    Disagree, politely (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:54:57 PM EST
    Chertoff has too much Katrina baggage for another nomination hearing. He could never be confirmed.

    More likely if the Bushies go this route is Ted Olson.


    Ya think? (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:17:05 PM EST
    New Orleans is still a mess and we really don't have "homeland security" and you think they'll confirm him that easily?

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by kovie on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 04:12:55 PM EST
    I find it interesting that on the same day that Gonzo resigns, a top-ranking Louisiana Democrat annouced that he's flipping to the GOP, which I assume means that he'll run against Landrieu in '08. This could have been done in part to pressure her to not mount too strong a campaign against a Chertoff nomination, given how he's screwed up the NO reconstruction. I.e. allow Chertoff to be confirmed, and we won't run this guy against you. Of course, they wouldn't hesitate to run him anyway once Chertoff's in office, and I hope that she's smart enough to realize this and tough enough to not go for it. But since this is Landrieu that we're talking about, I'm not so certain about either.

    Ya think? (none / 0) (#29)
    by scribe on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 03:14:25 PM EST
    And half the budget of his department, DHS, cannot be accounted for?

    If an attorney in the state where Chertoff is admitted, New Jersey, was so shoddy in handling his accounts as Chertoff and his department have been with his department's accounts, he'd be disbarred pretty summarily - even if there was no client money lost.

    He would not get another, arguably higher appointment.

    FWIW, I refer you to the case of In Re Irizarry, 141 N.J. 189, 661 A.2d 275 (1995).  In that case, the respondent attorney was disbarred (in NJ that's for life, BTW) because, in the words of the dissent:

    "What we are left with in this case is proof of an office in "shambles", but no smoking gun [of knowing misappropriation of client funds].  We are also left with the unsatisfactory prospect of disbarring an attorney because his records are incomplete and inadequate.  Respondent spent $650.00 per week in an effort to reconcile his accounts.   ... I think it would be terribly unfair to disbar on that basis ... [After describing the accounting difficulties] ... "it is not reasonably posssible for the [ethics board] to reconstruct the records of an attorney whose records were in such a state."

    FWIW, Irizarry had a busy practice serving minority and underprivileged clients, out of cramped quarters (about 15 x20 feet) over a luncheonette in Newark.  No actual loss to any client appears to have ever been satifactorily proven - some clients actually received more money than they were entitled to.  Yet, after literally 5 years of trying to reconstruct the accounts, and no proven losses, he was disbarred.

    And, Chertoff cannot (or will not - he's a Bushie, after all) account for half of his department's budget.  He shouldn't be appointed to be AG - he should be disbarred.


    And you wonder why he was disbarred? (none / 0) (#30)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 03:26:18 PM EST
    FWIW, Irizarry had a busy practice serving minority and underprivileged clients,

    Chertoff has a busy practice of serving majority and very privileged clients. He will NEVER be disbarred.


    How many Congressman (none / 0) (#23)
    by Saul on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:53:54 PM EST
    does it take to void the recess.  If they return earlier than next week will that void the recess.  Do it before Bush appoints.

    Recess is out (none / 0) (#26)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:58:05 PM EST
    ...almost more often than any schoolyard. Every Federal holiday. Look for Veterans Day, Turkey Day, or christmas gifts. Remember, they have Paul Clement, Solicitor General until then, or even after. They don't really even have to appoint a new AG, just let Paul do the SCOTRP argument and run DOJ.

    Next recess (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:10:22 PM EST
    Or the one after that (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Roger Mexico on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:14:59 PM EST
    IIRC, the "interim" tag can stay on someone for over 200 days. So Clemens, the interim replacement could stay until some future recess when the president could, as Militarytracy notes, just appoint his favorite "Brownie" clone. But the point of my first post was simply to note that the "interim" appointment is not likely to happen now, since he's not gone until 9-17.

    That (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Maryb2004 on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:21:20 PM EST
    is a more likely possibility.  It gives him talking point cover about how he tried to work with Congress but they were so mean and unreasonable.  And the country just couldn't do without an attorney general any longer so he was doing it for the good of the country.

    It also has the advantage (for him) of keeping the DOJ in a state of chaos for a longer period of time.


    I thought a recess appointment (none / 0) (#4)
    by Maryb2004 on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:09:52 PM EST
    was to fill a vacancy.  The office isn't vacant until the 17th.  How can he appoint someone to an office that is already held by someone else?

    He Resigns Early (none / 0) (#11)
    by squeaky on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:16:26 PM EST
    Rove, Poindexter, Abrams.  Who said it couldn't be worse than Gonzo. The Chimp does have a habit of flipping the bird and if there ever was a case to do it this is it. Gonzo was his man.

    The Senate has leverage (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:12:07 PM EST
    They can just refuse to confirm any of his other judicial nominations.

    hopefully (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:14:31 PM EST
    they'll do that anyway if the nominee is like his past ones.

    According to a post at DK, there is a deal (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 01:29:39 PM EST
    already requiring the Senate Judiciary committee to move judicial appointments along in exchange for the President's promise not to make recess appointments of judges.

    Why not, indeed (none / 0) (#17)
    by Categorically Imperative on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:24:02 PM EST
    Clement will serve as interim AG until the next recess, when Bush will appoint John Yoo.

    You heard it here first.

    Heh (none / 0) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:36:00 PM EST
    Right timing, wrong ringer (none / 0) (#22)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:53:04 PM EST
    Harriet Miers will be sent in to pull Bush's fat out of the fire.

    Or David Addington (none / 0) (#34)
    by kovie on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 04:15:03 PM EST
    Which might be even worse, since he's a thug as well as a sociopath.

    Why not a fresh start w/a recent Regents Univ. (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 04:36:37 PM EST
    Law School grad.?

    Pat Robertson (none / 0) (#37)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 06:01:22 PM EST
    ...comes to mind.

    210 days (none / 0) (#18)
    by Joe Student on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:35:14 PM EST
    I read on another blog (sorry can't remember) that the rules state that a nomination must be made within 210 days of a vacancy.

    If the nominee is rejected by the senate, the 210 days start again.

    How many days left in this administration?

    Avoid the recess. (none / 0) (#25)
    by Saul on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:57:09 PM EST
    Can congress refuse to take any more recesses before 08? Just to make sure Bush does not make any recess appointments in the future. How many congressmen are need to stay back from a recess to void a congressional recess?

    Doubt the Senate cares that much. (none / 0) (#27)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:59:07 PM EST
    See above (none / 0) (#28)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 03:00:15 PM EST
    "Recess is Out"

    every time Congress is on vacation, excluding normal weekends.


    The admin sinks to historically unprecedented lows (none / 0) (#31)
    by Ellie on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 03:26:44 PM EST
    Plumbing new depths in revolting behavior is a kind of criminal talent with this gang. A recess appointment is just so low Bush is practically required to go there.

    As for any respite provided by the n'opposition, even a cursory look at AbuGonzo's continued political survival in spite of his long trail of clear corruption suggests that this will happen on the very day that I win an eight-figure lottery:

    This is a real moment of truth for the Democratic Congress. Democrats, who have offered up little other than one failure after the next since taking power in January, can take a big step toward redeeming themselves here. No matter what, they must ensure that Gonzales' replacement is a genuinely trustworthy and independent figure. (The Democrats' responsibility in the wake of Gonzales' resignation, by Glenn Greenwald, Salon Aug 27 / 2007

    Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth:
    Phony Joe Biden (At the Senatorial Flapping Gums Oral Games held in honor of Abu's annointment): This is not about your integrity. This is not a witch hunt. This is about your judgment. That's all we're trying to do. And so when I get to ask my questions, I hope you'll be candid about it, because -- not that it's relevant -- I like you. "I like you. You are real -- you're the real deal.!"

    I never buy lottery tickets and regard them as a form of stupidity tax.

    I say no recess appointment (none / 0) (#32)
    by chemoelectric on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 04:09:40 PM EST
    Bush is better off not making a recess appointment, now that he has demonstrated that the Democratic leaders won't confront him for appointing another lawless toadie, and were merely playing their base up until now. Bush can appoint someone who will keep the cover-up going and the Democrats will, effectively, pat him on the back and say 'Good choice!'