Bush likely to appoint Bolton during congressional recess

Monday, July 25, 2005

John R. Bolton

As the US Senate is about to take its annual August recess, they have not yet taken action on the controversial United Nations ambassador nomination of John Bolton. With Congress gone and President Bush at his ranch in Texas, White House press secretary Scott McClellan, speaking unofficially, hinted that Bush might exercise his constitutional authority and post him to the U.N. by use of a recess appointment.

The appointment would stand until January 2007 before it would once again become subject to Senate confirmation.

The Bolton nomination was passed on to the full Senate for consideration on March 17. This was done without a favorable recommendation from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) succeeded twice in leading Democrats to block efforts of Republican chamber leaders to bring the matter to a vote. Democrats raised questions on whether Bolton abused subordinates while acting in his role as undersecretary of state, and whether he tried to pressure intelligence analysts to issue reports that conformed to his views. There was also the question of Bolton's past criticisms of the body of the United Nations itself.

Democratic filibusters demanded of the Bush administration that it release classified information regarding the involvements of Bolton in his position as the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security since May 11, 2001. In the past, however, Senate confirmation was granted him to fill positions in government posts on four occasions.

With a week to go before recess, there are no signs of a Senate breakthrough.

In 1998, former President Bill Clinton selected Richard Holbrooke. In what some have called "partisan bickering", Republicans blocked Holbrooke for 14 months, before he was finally confirmed in August 1999.