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Timing Holder's Replacement

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"President Obama has yet to reveal his choice to succeed Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., but already the Senate confirmation process has begun its march toward contentiousness," Paul Kane and Juliet Eilperin report in the WaPo.  Kristina Peterson reports at the WSJ:

Some Republicans quickly condemned the idea of the Senate considering Mr. Holder's replacement when outgoing lawmakers would still be able to vote on the next attorney general. "Allowing Democratic senators, many of whom will likely have just been defeated at the polls, to confirm Holder's successor would be an abuse of power that should not be countenanced," Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said
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Some Democrats said it would be a mistake to purposefully delay the process. "It would be irresponsible for anyone to try to delay confirmation of the country's chief law-enforcement officer for political purposes and I would hope responsible members of both parties would cooperate in a thorough hearing and a confirmation vote," said Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.)
"Abuse of power" may be an overstatement, but I think Cruz has the better argument.  The Senate's Advice and Consent power was put into the Constitution as a check on the executive.  It is an important part of our constitutional system of checks and balances.  When the people have chosen new representatives, the power should be exercised by them on a question of this importance, not by the lame ducks just voted out.

"Political purposes"?  Well, politics is the means by which the people exercise constitutional right number one, governing themselves through the democratic process.

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If the Republicans win the Senate, they should announce the next day that if Harry Reid uses a lame duck session to confirm Holder's successor, the incoming Senate will either refuse to consider, or will vote down, every person the Administration nominates for an executive or judicial vacancy.

That is hardball, but Reid and Obama are the last people on earth to complain about playing that way.

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