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03/27/2010

We're liking this principled spine, Mr. President

by Jeremy Hooper

You know how the far-right has been dragging Chai Feldblum's name through the mud and holding up her nomination for Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for little reason beyond the fact that she's a progressive lesbian? Yea, well, President Obama is taking a proactive step, announcing plans to recess appoint Feldblum and fourteen other nominees.

This from the White House press office:

WASHINGTON –After facing months of Republican obstruction to administration nominees, President Obama announced his intent to recess appoint fifteen nominees to fill critical administration posts that have been left vacant, including key positions on the economic team and on boards that have been left with vacancies for months.

“The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees. But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis,” said President Barack Obama. “Most of the men and women whose appointments I am announcing today were approved by Senate committees months ago, yet still await a vote of the Senate. At a time of economic emergency, two top appointees to the Department of Treasury have been held up for nearly six months. I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government.”

Following their appointment, these nominees will remain in the Senate for confirmation.

Obama Administration appointees have faced an unprecedented level of obstruction in the Senate.

· President Obama currently has a total of 217 nominees pending before the Senate. These nominees have been pending for an average of 101 days, including 34 nominees pending for more than 6 months.

· The 15 nominees President Obama intends to recess appoint have been pending for an average of 214 days or 7 months for a total of 3204 days or almost 9 years.

President Bush had made 15 recess appointments by this point in his presidency, but he was not facing the same level of obstruction. At this time in 2002, President Bush had only 5 nominees pending on the floor. By contrast, President Obama has 77 nominees currently pending on the floor, 58 of whom have been waiting for over two weeks and 44 of those have been waiting more than a month.
The President announced his intention to recess appoint the following nominees:
....
Chai R. Feldblum: Nominee for Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Chai Feldblum is a Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center where she has taught since 1991. She also founded the Law Center’s Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, a program designed to train students to become legislative lawyers. Feldblum previously served as Legislative Counsel to the AIDS Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. In this role, she developed legislation, analyzed policy on various AIDS-related issues, and played a leading role in the drafting of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and, later as a law professor, in the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. She has also worked on advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and has been a leading expert on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. As Co-Director of Workplace Flexibility 2010, Feldblum has worked to advance flexible workplaces in a manner that works for employees and employers. Feldblum clerked for Judge Frank Coffin and for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and B.A. from Barnard College.

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Your thoughts

I've never been able to get commenting to work this site in either Firefox or Seamonkey. Or in a bunch of other browsers which may or may not be available on Windows. Since I'm not willing to use Internet Explorer unless I'm absolutely forced to, I've found that I can always post here with the Arora web browser, which Wikipedia says works on Windows and Mac OS X as well as Linux/Unix, and even on something called Haiku. I'm not pitching this because I have anything to gain from doing so (no financial or other relationship with Arora), just happy to tell folks about something that works that isn't IE.

Posted by: Donny D. | Mar 27, 2010 5:32:30 PM

I wish Chai Feldblum well. She's a gutsy woman, principled and determined.

Posted by: Bob Barnes | Mar 28, 2010 8:19:39 AM

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