Larry Summers and the Nomination Process

The President can be described as imperial when the balance of power seems  to be unfairly swayed to him; he is a lame duck when Congress is too powerful…The nomination process, to the Cabinet, Supreme Court or other key offices, is a fantastic exemplar of checks and balances and of this power. Larry Summers was instrumental in the Clinton administration and in the deregulation of the banks in the 1990s and is really well qualified for the job of Federal Reserve Chair. However, it has been so long since he has been nominated, that today he pulled out stating ‘I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interest of the Federal Reserve’. A divisive figure he was, but the key reason for pulling out, as with many others for other positions, is the arduous nature of the appointment process which can drive away the most qualified candidates. A key feature of such nominations can often be the over-riding air of partisanship, along with those in the Senate using such confirmations as a platform on which to get their own voice heard. As a more recent example, you should look to start including this in place of the stock Harriet Miers example where you can.

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