Thursday, June 1, 2017

Picking a federal prosecutor is a political process, no doubt about it

It seems the first steps have been taking toward picking a new U.S. attorney for Chicago; the Chicago Sun-Times reported that names of recommended appointees were sent recently to President Donald J. Trump for his consideration.
TRUMP: On verge of picking new U.S. attorney

The president gets to pick who he wants, but usually seeks the advice of the local members of Congress from the state in which the appointee will serve.

WHICH IS WHY Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., the senior-most member of the Republican portion of Illinois’ congressional delegation, took it upon himself to make recommendations – who now will be reviewed by the president’s advisors so as to make sure that Shimkus hasn’t picked a legal dud or two.

Of course, the process is complicated by partisan politics – the great headache-inducer that manages to interfere with the process of “the people’s business.”

Because the president usually defers to a state’s Senate delegation in seeking recommendations. But we in Illinois have chosen Democrats to serve as our senators.

And undermining any influence Democrats may have is kind of the whole point of this Age of Trump that we’re now in.

SHIMKUS, AN OTHERWISE obscure member of Congress from the Illinois-based suburbs of St. Louis, certainly wasn’t going to care what either Richard Durbin or Tammy Duckworth thought.

Although the realities of the political process are that Senate rules exist that would allow either Durbin or Duckworth, if not both combined, to thwart the appointment process. Not that they’ll get any say in who gets the position, but they will have the authority to totally gum up the works.
SHIMKUS: Sent names to president

Which is why, as the Sun-Times reports, the president’s staff has reached out to Durbin to indicate it understands the rules that would permit Durbin, as a Senate judiciary committee member, to have some say over an attorney serving in his home state.

Could it be that our president, who during his first four-or-so months in office has shown much contempt for the process of government, is finally catching on?

OR AT THE very least doesn’t want something as basic as appointing federal prosecutors to various districts across the nation – including northern Illinois – to become a convoluted mess?
DURBIN: Can make GOP life miserable

Because Trump is the one who made the big spectacle of terminating the employment of all the chief federal prosecutors who had been appointed by Barack Obama – thereby leaving the offices in the hands of interim staffers who aren’t expected to last for the long-term.

Even Trump realizes how incompetent he’d appear to be if he couldn’t come up with permanent replacements. The real question is how uncomfortable will Trumpites be in having to acknowledge Democratic Party control or influence of even this minor magnitude.

I’m sure that Shimkus considered it a significant advancement to his influence on Capitol Hill that HE would get to make the recommendations and would get to ignore the thoughts of senior-most officials because of politically partisan concerns.

WILL HE, AND other Republicans, consider it some sort of blow to their political partisanship that the president winds up having to contemplate what the other side, in the form of Durbin, thinks after all?
DUCKWORTH: Likely to have a say too

And what happens if it turns out that the recommendations picked by Shimkus wind up being found too incompetent, or unqualified, for whatever reason to warrant the president signing off and picking those individuals in his name?

I’ve always thought the only way that Trump could seriously face the threat of impeachment and removal from office (regardless of the new Morning Consult poll that shows 54 percent of people believing Trump is unfit for office and 43 percent thinking he already has committed an impeachable offense) is if he were to actually behave in a conciliatory manner toward more-progressive interests in our society. The concept of a buffoon who eagerly dumps all over non-ideologue Republicans is exactly what GOP officials who have the majority in Congress desire.

So could naming the replacement for Zachary Fardon and 45 other U.S. attorneys wind up being an act that causes Trump so much of a political headache he’ll be wondering just why he was foolish enough to ever want to be president in the first place.


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