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June 18, 2019, 11:54:43 pm
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  Could the President submit their cabinet to the Senate as a slate?
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Author Topic: Could the President submit their cabinet to the Senate as a slate?  (Read 177 times)
RoboWop
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« on: March 08, 2019, 10:15:47 pm »

Hypothetically, could a President submit every member of their cabinet to the Senate for a single up-down vote? Is there anything preventing this (other than political interests)?

Quote from: Article II, Section 2, par. 2
...he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

In other words, the President would declare their chosen cabinet officials and then ask the Senate to "advise and consent" to the entire Cabinet. Has this constitutional question ever been tested at any level?
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Kalwejt
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2019, 05:44:32 am »

If so I'm wondering about the hearings, since each Secretary-designate has to appear before specific committee. They can't appear at once and the nominee for, let's say, Secretary of Labor have no business testifying before the Armed Forces Committee.
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Dereich
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2019, 12:27:33 pm »
« Edited: March 09, 2019, 12:57:16 pm by Dereich »

I suppose the President could try to do so, but he wouldn't be able to control anything about the Senate's own confirmation process. Only the Senate can make Senate rules. If the Senate chose to ignore the President and treat each cabinet member individually, I think the only way he could force the issue would be by declaring that he would withdraw all of his nominees (and dismiss any who had already been confirmed) should any of them be voted down.

EDIT: I think Nixon v. United States, 506 U.S. 224 (1993) is your friend here. If the President challenged the Senate for failing to treat his nominees as a block, the Senate would win. The power of advising and consenting, just like the power to impeach in Nixon, is expressly granted to the Senate by the Constitution. The Court would not overrule the Senate's decision on how to utilize that authority.
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True Federalist
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2019, 12:47:32 pm »

Constitutionally, it would be quite feasible for the arrangement to be that the President nominates one or more Secretaries of State to which he would then assign or reassign responsibility for executive departments at his discretion. However, in the organic laws organizing each department, they provide for a specific person to be named for each post.

Similarly, there's no reason the Senate couldn't approve a set of nominees on a joint slate, but the President couldn't insist on that.
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RoboWop
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2019, 06:23:03 pm »

If so I'm wondering about the hearings, since each Secretary-designate has to appear before specific committee. They can't appear at once and the nominee for, let's say, Secretary of Labor have no business testifying before the Armed Forces Committee.

There is definitely no specific constitutional requirement for hearings on presidential appointments.
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Deeply Disturbing
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2019, 07:36:58 pm »

If so I'm wondering about the hearings, since each Secretary-designate has to appear before specific committee. They can't appear at once and the nominee for, let's say, Secretary of Labor have no business testifying before the Armed Forces Committee.

There is definitely no specific constitutional requirement for hearings on presidential appointments.

They might submit it as a slate, but I’m skeptical as to whether they could stop the Senate if the chamber chose to split up the submission and consider each nomination separately.
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