In Case You Missed It...Wall Street Journal Editorial: President Boxer (May 22, 2008)
May 22, 2008
In Case You Missed It...
The Wall Street Journal
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
May 22, 2008; Page A14
When Senate Democrats tie one of President Bush's nominees to the whipping post, they usually bother to invent some substantive objection. Apparently the new standard for rejection is merely that a White House nominee dares to support White House policy.
In March, the White House nominated David Hill as general counsel for the Environmental Protection Agency. He ought to have zipped through the Senate. Over two decades in Washington, Mr. Hill has accumulated no partisan ballast; when he was nominated as the Energy Department's general counsel three years ago, he was confirmed unanimously. He is roundly liked for his role in developing the Administration's loan programs for clean tech.
But yesterday, Mr. Hill was rejected for the EPA post by the Senate Environment Committee during a routine business meeting, a highly unusual maneuver. The 10-9 vote had no relation at all to Mr. Hill's qualifications to serve and everything to do with preventing any policy supervision at the EPA.
The committee is chaired by California's Barbara Boxer, who is livid that the EPA has so far declined to rewrite existing environmental laws to regulate greenhouse gasses. At a confirmation hearing, Ms. Boxer told Mr. Hill that he was incapable of "independent thought" because he didn't pay obeisance to her political agenda. Instead, Mr. Hill said he would only sign off on decisions that were "legally defensible." Anything but that.
This blackmail is especially appalling because the EPA is being sued on dozens of fronts, and needs someone competent to head its legal office. But by Ms. Boxer's standard no one who doesn't bow to her policy could possibly be confirmed, ever. Remember all the partisan jabbering, not so long ago, about the Imperial Presidency?