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2015

Law and Politics

Confirmation delays

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The Uncertain Effects Of Senate Confirmation Delays In The Agencies, Nina A. Mendelson Jan 2015

The Uncertain Effects Of Senate Confirmation Delays In The Agencies, Nina A. Mendelson

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As Professor Anne O’Connell has effectively documented, the delay in Senate confirmations has resulted in many vacant offices in the most senior levels of agencies, with potentially harmful consequences to agency implementation of statutory programs. This symposium contribution considers some of those consequences, as well as whether confirmation delays could conceivably have benefits for agencies. I note that confirmation delays are focused in the middle layer of political appointments—at the assistant secretary level, rather than at the cabinet head—so that formal functions and political oversight are unlikely to be halted altogether. Further, regulatory policy making and even agenda setting can …