'Oh, she's going down'
According to Breitbart, that's what Rand Paul has told his senatorial staff about what's going to happen with Loretta Lynch's nomination to replace Eric Holder as the nation's attorney general. And well her nomination ought go down, too.
It's one thing for a president to usurp the constitutional powers of Congress, but it's altogether another thing for his merely nominated chief law enforcement officer to afterward testify that his doing so is lawfully up to snuff. The Congress that would have to impeach the one need merely reject the other. The one involves acquiescence, the other approval. And there's a big difference between acquiescing to a fait accompli and approving a not yet accomplished fact that ratifies the fait accompli. If the Congress were too unprincipled to prevent Barack Obama from usurping its legislative powers, it ought now be at least principled enough to prevent his attorney general nominee from enforcing that usurpation. Else the Congress compounds the crime.
Impeachment is the constitutional remedy for a president who violates the most fundamental organizing principle of our national government – viz., the separation of its powers. There are multiple reasons (not the least of which are the political and social consequences of impeaching the nation's first black president) why Congress chose not to impeach this president for having both ignored its immigration laws and instructed his secretary of homeland security to sign a memorandum tantamount to unconstitutional legislation by executive means. But, having for whatever reason taken impeachment off the table, how can a Congress with any residual semblance of constitutional principle now ratify a presidential high crime by confirming the nomination of an attorney general authorized and prepared to enforce high presidential crime?
Because Lynch is a black female? Because the president's entitled to the attorney general of his choice? Because the Senate's too politically craven or corrupt to uphold the Legislature's constitutional powers against the Executive's unconstitutional onslaught?
Neither race nor gender is a qualification for being the nation's attorney general. And the president isn't entitled to a chief law enforcement officer who enforces presidential law-breaking. That pretty much narrows it down to cravenness and corruption.
But talk's one thing; action's another. And one wonders how Senator Paul intends to effect his assertion the Senate will put down Lynch's nomination. Paul's not even on the consenting committee. Neither he nor any other senator can put a hold on the nomination unless the Senate majority leader allows him to do so, and Mitch McConnell (despite what he told his constituents during his recent re-election) has already assured a hostile media he won't prevent Lynch's nomination from going to the Senate floor for a vote. It takes only 51 Senators to confirm the nomination. So can Paul and his allies prevent at least 5 Republicans from voting with 44 Democrats and 2 Independents to confirm the nomination? McConnell himself may well vote to confirm, and in all likelihood, there are at least 5 "moderate" Republicans who will abandon their "conservative" colleagues. Of course, the filibuster may once again be available for delaying votes on presidential nominees, but the operative word there is "delay."
Good luck on those 5 Republicans, Senator Paul. My own suspicion is there are more than sufficient Republican senators willing to trade their constitutional oath for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's continued blessing. After all, what's the Constitution compared with an unending flow of cheap labor? And does anyone really need to worry all that much about 10 million formerly employed American citizens who're still unemployed, 47 million citizens on food stamps, 11 million citizens on Social Security disability, or Uncle Sam himself only knows how many more million citizens presently stealing some portion of their daily sustenance under 100 or more other forms of state welfare?
At any rate, the Lynch nomination is 2015's first acid test of whether Republican Senators are prepared to fulfill both their oaths to uphold the Constitution and their campaign promises to the conservative voters who gave them their majority in the Senate of the 114th United States Congress.
We already know Democratic senators aren't.