Breaking News: Interior Nominee Blocked

HuffPost reports:

Republicans have blocked President Barack Obama’s pick for the No. 2 job at the Interior Department because of a flap over oil leases in Utah. In a 57-39 Senate vote, Democrats fell short of the 60 votes they would have needed to advance the nominee past GOP obstacles. It’s the first time Republicans have blocked an Obama selection.

This is a real shame.  It’s hard to imagine anyone better qualified than David Hayes, a former Latham & Watkins partner.  He served as the Deputy Secretary of the Interior during the Clinton Administration.  At that time, he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. He was involved in many of the Department’s most difficult and important matters such as the negotiation of habitat conservation plans under the Endangered Species Act. In 2007, he was a Consulting Professor at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment. While at Stanford, he directed a Woods Institute dialogue project on carbon offsets.  He currently serves as the Chair of Stanford Law School’s Board of Visitors. He has also co-authored books on climate change and global water issues.

The fact that the Senate blocked this appointment is appalling.  But I guess qualifications don’t have much to do with the politics of these decisions. Maybe  Obama should consider a recess appointment.

ADDENDUM: As Eric Biber’s comment to this post indicates, maybe the appointment isn’t completely dead after all.

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Reader Comments

3 Replies to “Breaking News: Interior Nominee Blocked”

  1. This is not only appalling, it is a real problem for the administration’s implementation of the public land management laws, and especially of the Endangered Species Act. There has been a vacuum of leadership at Interior below the secretarial level, at a time when conservation efforts are facing the difficult challenge of responding to global climate change. This unfortunate act of nasty politics does a disservice to the country.

  2. Where is Al Franken when we need him? Won’t be be the 60th vote on issues like this? This seems like a very highly qualified nominee and it is a shame that he is getting held-up. I don’t see what is so controversial. Carbon offsets are coming whether we like them or not, and they are the less radical of several ideas out there.

    Andy Greene
    Green Living Tips for Rednecks

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Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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