Open Thread: Obama, the Imperial President?
Bruce Ackerman argues in today's Wall Street Journal that in President Obama's shady appointment Elizabeth Warren to an advisory role last week in order to bypass the Senate confirmation process "is another milestone down the path toward an imperial presidency."
What do you think? Would this system remedy the problem?
Here is the deal: The Senate should change its rules to require an up-or-down vote on all executive branch appointments within 60 days. In exchange, the president should sign legislation to require Senate approval of all senior White House appointments. By reaching this agreement, the president regains the powers to govern effectively and the Senate regains its authority to approve all major appointments-regardless of their location in the executive branch.
This grand bargain requires both sides to give up the petty privileges of the existing system. Senators will lose their power to hold up nominations to blackmail the administration into approving their pet projects. Presidents will lose their ability to appoint super-loyalists who can't convince 51 senators that they merit powerful White House positions. But the rest of us will profit greatly from the reinvigoration of the founding principle of checks-and-balances for a new century.