American Elephants

What Did the Founders Mean By Advice and Consent?” by The Elephant's Child

“The Constitution of the United States of America, Article.II., Section . 2. …(First part makes the President Commander in Chief, require reports from officers in executive departments, and power to grant pardons)…He 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…”

Here’s my question: What did the founders intend by “Advice and Consent of the Senate?” Republicans in the Senate usually seem to think that a president should have whoever he has picked unless — what? Granted, the Republicans are in the minority, but does the two-thirds requirement not apply to appointments? Democrats filibustered Robert Bork, not because he was unqualified— for he was undoubtedly one of the most qualified men ever appointed— but because he was conservative. Same thing when George W. Bush appointed John Bolton Ambassador to the U.N. Bush reappointed him during a recess, and he was a wonderfully effective ambassador.

So why have Republicans in the Senate consented to the appointment of President Obama’s nominees? Worst bunch of nominees I can remember, singularly unqualified, of radical leanings, (which is why they were appointed), and sure to damage the country.  It’s hard to pick out just one or two who should be filibustered., or who is the worst.  Rand Paul’s filibuster was greatly admired, but essentially just getting the Attorney General to back down in his language, and trivial in the long run.

I understand that Republicans are a minority of 47 to the Democrats’ 53, with two Independents. Were the Founders serious about Advice and Consent? Did they not expect it to be taken seriously and used to rid us of poor nominees?


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