Judges lose independence.Byline: The Register-Guard
President Bush's second recess appointment A recess appointment occurs when the President of the United States fills a vacant Federal position during a recess of the United States Senate. The commission or appointment must be approved by the Senate by the end of the next session, or the position becomes vacant again. to a federal appeals court raises an unsettling un·set·tle
v. un·set·tled, un·set·tling, un·set·tles
1. To displace from a settled condition; disrupt.
2. To make uneasy; disturb.
v.intr. question: Will the job security of the next person named to the U.S. Supreme Court depend on who is elected president? The appointment process has become so politicized that the independence of the judiciary - the keystone of the rule of law - is at risk.
Bush named Alabama Attorney General William Pryor William Pryor can refer to multiple individuals:
The Constitution provides for recess appointments so that presidents can temporarily fill vacancies while the Senate is adjourned. George Washington appointed John Rutledge Noun 1. John Rutledge - United States jurist and second chief justice of the United States Supreme Court; he was appointed by George Washington and briefly served as chief justice but was ultimately rejected by the United States Senate (1739-1800)
Rutledge chief justice of the Supreme Court through a recess appointment. Dwight D. Eisenhower gave recess appointments to three Supreme Court justices. The appointments last until the end of the congressional session. Pickering and Pryor then will have to return to the Senate for confirmation.
Among the many presidential appointments requiring Senate confirmation, nominations to the federal judiciary are unique. Federal judges are appointed for life, and Congress is prohibited from reducing their salary. By design, they are free of the threat of retribution by either the president or Congress - unless they came to the bench through a recess appointment.
Eisenhower's recess appointments drew attention to the dangers. Sen. Phillip Hart, D-Mich., said in 1960 that a judge who receives a recess appointment must decide "either to take a position during his period of probation which would please the president who appointed him and who could withdraw his name; or to please the Senate, which sooner or later would either approve or disapprove dis·ap·prove
v. dis·ap·proved, dis·ap·prov·ing, dis·ap·proves
1. To have an unfavorable opinion of; condemn.
2. To refuse to approve; reject.
v.intr. ; or, at the other extreme, conscious of the fact that there would be public scrutiny and interpretation of his action in light of whether he was bending to the Senate or the president, he could rear back and bend the other way in order to prove that he was subservient sub·ser·vi·ent
1. Subordinate in capacity or function.
2. Obsequious; servile.
3. Useful as a means or an instrument; serving to promote an end. to neither branch."
Neither senators nor presidents have wanted to put judges in such a no-win position, so judicial recess appointments have become rare. Senators of both parties have spoken against them. Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said "any appointment of a federal judge during a recess should be opposed." Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said it was "outrageously inappropriate for any president to fill a federal judgeship through a recess appointment in a deliberate way to bypass the Senate."
Both senators spoke in 2000, after President Clinton made his first and only judicial recess appointment. They have not spoken in a similar vein about the Pryor and Pickering appointments. Those are presented not as bypassing the Senate, but as sidestepping an obstructionist ob·struc·tion·ist
One who systematically blocks or interrupts a process, especially one who attempts to impede passage of legislation by the use of delaying tactics, such as a filibuster. Democratic minority.
Both sides have raised the stakes in turn - first Bush by nominating people who can't win bipartisan support, then the Democrats by making unprecedented use of the filibuster filibuster, term used to designate obstructionist tactics in legislative assemblies. It has particular reference to the U.S. Senate, where the tradition of unlimited debate is very strong. It was not until 1917 that the Senate provided for cloture (i.e. , and now Bush again through his use of recess appointments. A future Democratic president can expect to have a hard time winning Senate confirmation for nominees. A Republican president would have serious trouble with a Democratic Senate. When either party is in the minority, it will use all its powers to block nominees it finds objectionable. Recess appointments, once rare, could become routine.
The independence of the judiciary will be compromised if judges feel pressure to politicize po·lit·i·cize
v. po·lit·i·cized, po·lit·i·ciz·ing, po·lit·i·ciz·es
To engage in or discuss politics.
v.tr. their decisions in order to keep their jobs. The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on the question of whether a person can receive a fair trial before a judge who is unprotected by a lifetime appointment. Thanks to the hardball hard·ball
2. Informal The use of any means, however ruthless, to attain an objective.
US & Canad
1. tactics of both parties, that question will come forward soon.