Regulatory Czars and the Appointment Clause. Why doesn't the Senate have advice and consent over the Czars?

October 1st, 2009

I realize the topic of Obama’s czars has been exhausted Ad Nausuem, both from the political blogosphere, and the legal blogosphere, mainly at Volokh.

Pajamas TV has a hilarious video featuring Glenn Reynolds discussing the many Czars currently in the Obama adminstration.

Today, the USA Today ran a great story dealing with the Czars (H/T Heritage Morning Bell). A few choice quotes:

“In the Senate, Democrats, such as Robert Byrd of West Virginia, are questioning the constitutionality of the advisers the White House says it needs to coordinate policy and advise the president on issues from health care to the Middle East. Republicans, such as Susan Collins of Maine, are trying to curb funding for them.”

Limiting funding may be one way to skin the cat, but I have been wondering for some time now how these Czars fit in the Humphrey’s Executor and Morrison v. Olson line of cases. What exactly do these czars do (other than sign 9/11 Truther statements)? Although in many cases their qualifications for the job are inferior, would their fiat and power qualify them as principle officers? If so, would advice and consent be required?

I’ll likely dig into the legal issues at some later point, and maybe a law review article if I get around to it, but I just wanted to throw this out there for thoughts and comments.