The Constitution specifies that the Senate has both the power and the duty to advise and consent to the President's appointments for various high offices. Usually, members of the Senate have the wit to at least pretend they are responsibly carrying-out these duties. But yesterday, as the New York Times reports:
Two Senate Democrats warned Monday that the Judiciary Committee would delay confirmation of President Bush's choice for attorney general unless the White House turned over documents that the panel was seeking for several investigations. [....]
... two Democrats who will have a powerful say over whether Mr. Mukasey gets confirmed - Senators Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont and Charles E. Schumer of New York - vowed on Monday to use the nomination to extract information from a reluctant White House.
"All I want is the material we need to ask some questions about the former attorney general's conduct, on torture and warrantless wiretapping, so we can legitimately ask, ‘Here's what was done in the past, what will you do?"' Mr. Leahy, the Judiciary Committee chairman, said.
This doesn't pass the laugh test. The confirmation process does not confirm investigatory powers on the activities of previous incumbents. This posture is a naked corruption of a serious constitutional responsibility. The United States needs an Attorney General, and using confirmation hearings as a bargaining tool in a political vendetta is low, even for the likes of Schumer and Leahy.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky