See ’em at Bob Geiger’s place.
The Every Day Cartoon is, of course, on Fox News Network —
Rick Perlstein provides not-so-funny testimony on Bill O. and the hating of America.
And in the You Can’t Make This Shit Up department, see the Right Blogosphere. The wingnuts think Sen. Chuck Schumer is attempting a coup d’Ã©tat . WTF?, you say? One of the Power Tools explains,
The Democrats’ unconstitutional usurpation of power continues: Chuck Schumer, possibly the wackiest of all Capitol Hill Democrats, announces a change in the Constitution:
New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush â€œexcept in extraordinary circumstances.â€
â€œWe should reverse the presumption of confirmation,â€ Schumer told the American Constitution Society convention in Washington. â€œThe Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.â€
I guess “dangerously out of balance” means 5-4. What Schumer really means, of course, is that he wants to hold the fort for a year and a half so that a Democratic President can be elected, and the Court can be “dangerously out of balance,” i.e., 5-4 in the other direction.
The Right, of course, has never even thought about placing people to their own ideological liking on the Court.
However, what puzzles me is the bit about “changing the Constitution.” Article II, Section 2, paragraph 2, clearly says,
He [the President] shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
In Rightie World, the only “advice and consent” the Senate is allowed is “Yes sir, Mr. President!” Unless, of course, Republicans hold the majority in the Senate and the President is a Democrat.
This confusion on constitutional theory might have come about from a recent conference call held by the White House for rightie bloggers, in which the bloggers were initiated into the Revealed Wisdom of Executive Privilege. Captain Ed wrote,
The power to hire and fire federal prosecutors belongs exclusively to the executive branch. Congress has no particular oversight in these matters, and so the executive privilege claim is very compelling in this instance.
Yes, the President has the authority to hire and fire federal prosecutors, but the Constitution (see above) explicitly gives the Senate oversight regarding “all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law.” U.S. attorneys have been included in this classification since Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789. However, according to the DoJ’s own web site,
Initially, United States Attorneys were not supervised by the Attorney General (1 Op.Att’y Gen. 608) but Congress, in the Act of August 2, 1861, (Ch. 37, 12 Stat. 185) charged the Attorney General with the “general superintendence and direction duties …” While the precise nature of the superintendence and direction was not defined, the Department of Justice Act of June 22, 1870 (Ch. 150, 16 Stat. 164) and the Act of June 30, 1906 (Ch. 39, 35, 34 Stat. 816) clearly established the power of the Attorney General to supervise criminal and civil proceedings in any district.
Wouldn’t it be fun if Congress took back its supervision of the U.S. attorneys? Anyway, further down the DoJ web site says,
United States Attorneys are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate for a four-year term. See 28 U.S.C. Sec. 541.
It’s possible, of course, that when the White House Captain Ed and the Power Tools and other righties talk about “the Constitution,” they are not talking about the Constitution of the United States.