To date, the list of Czars is at 45. After Obama was elected, a Wall Street Journal Editorial online by Laura Meckler stated:
The idea is to have someone in the White House with the president's ear to coordinate policy and give the topic the weight it deserves. Such a post gives an issue prominence, allows for coordination among agencies and streamlines decision making. At the same time, however, these arrangements can breed confusion and create conflict with the mammoth agencies that are working on the same issues.Time Magazine offered the story "A Brief History of White House Czars" a few weeks ago as justification to offset the very apparent radical and non-mainstream views of most of the appointments made by Obama:
Democratic Senator(God Bless Robert Byrd, by the way. He has carried a Pocket Constitution to the Senate for all the decades he has served, consistently defending it along the way.)
Robert Byrd, a well-known defender of Senate prerogatives, complained about the positions in a letter earlier this year. A spokesman replied that Obama is simply continuing a presidential practice in place for decades.
Tomorrow, October 6th, a hearing is scheduled to be held at 1:30 PM, headed up by Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat from Wisconsin. As reported in the New York Times Blog "The Caucus,"by Kate Phillips:
Mr. Feingold, the chairman of a Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, has been one of the Democrats lending a bipartisan edge to what had been largely Republican complaints about the number ofThe hearing is titled “Examining the History and Legality of Executive Branch Czars,” The following is a list of witnesses, as stated on the Judiciary Committee website:
Obama“czars.”(The White House and leading Democrats have forcefully rebutted the notion that the president has too many; former President Bush had placed many officials in the same/or similar positions.) The Wisconsin senator, who is up for re-election in 2010, had recently cited concerns he had heard during the summer at town hall meetings about the issue. But both he and six G.O.P. senators, who separately raised the issue with the White House, also sought explanations because in their view, some of these appointments circumvent the role of the legislative branch, particularly the Senate’s advise and consent obligation.
T.J. HalsteadIt's about time, actually. After all, the Senate is made up of mostly men. Men in power who if they know better should recognnize that these "czars" could make them irrelevant. These czars don't have to play by the same rules the Senators do. They aren't elected, they aren't put through a hearing on qualifications. Why, the Senators just may feel disenfranchised! What is that like? (she writes sarcstically). This is my conjecture, of course. I don't know what they are thinking. But, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary's website will have a webcast of the hearing. I think I'll find the time to tune in. Should be interesting.
Assistant Director, American Law Division,
Congressional Research Service
Library of Congress
John C. Harrison
James Madison Distinguished Professor of Law
Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Research Professor
University of VirginiaSchool of Law
Author, To Serve the President (2008)
Villanova UniversitySchool of Law
Director, B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies
The Heritage Foundation
Just for fun, check out this Democratic National Committee response to the number of czars Obama has hired:
So of course, that makes it right because Obama has less than Bush. I don't expect THAT to stay the same, do you?