Judges Tell Trump His Officials Are Serving Illegally. He Does Nothing.
If you care about law & order, if you care about the rule of law, you should care about this story. Donald Trump appoints people to lead the government, in positions that require Senate confirmation. The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, indicates that certain appointees are not qualified for the positions that President Trump appointed them to. The President, in violation of the law, ignores that. It is not Republican—it is not conservative—to put people in positions of power when those people are unqualified and cannot gain the support of the President’s own party.
Judges Tell Trump His Officials Are Serving Illegally. He Does Nothing
Lisa Friedman, for the New York Times
Holding a job unlawfully is not a reason to be fired in the Trump administration.
Last month, a Montana judge ruled that the acting head of the Bureau of Land Management, which holds sway over millions of acres of federal land, should be removed from his position because he was performing his duties illegally. The Interior Department’s response? Tweak his title.
Since March, William Perry Pendley is the third high-ranking administration official that the courts have found likely to be working in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, a 1998 law governing how a president may appoint temporary officials. Such findings have been bolstered by the Government Accountability Office and other agencies.
In each case the administration has responded with defiance.
… Farther down the leadership chain, the president’s penchant for filling high-level jobs without Senate confirmation was causing confusion long before the coronavirus pandemic.
“Confirmation hearings in the Senate are really important,” said Peter Jenkins, senior counsel for the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
“If they pass and get enough votes, it means they’re mainstream enough to satisfy both sides,” Mr. Jenkins said. By consistently bypassing the law, he said, “You get lower level, unqualified or fringe characters running the bureaus. The employee morale suffers, the performance of the agencies declines and the resources suffer.”
… The Federal Vacancies Reform Act bars acting agency officials from serving for more than 210 days without Senate confirmation. According to the Government Accountability Office, there were six violations of the act during the eight years of the Obama administration and eight so far during the Trump administration’s first term.
The Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal research group, has identified 15 high-ranking Trump administration officials who are currently holding jobs in violation of the vacancies act.