Update to MAGA Fascists Form Star Chamber Committee To Review Gov. Hobbs’ Executive Appointees.
Robert Robb on substack writes Petersen declares war on Hobbs:
Let’s begin with a philosophical discussion of the role of the legislative confirmation authority for executive branch appointments in our system of checks and balances. And let’s begin that discussion with what are inappropriate exercises of that authority.
The confirmation process shouldn’t be a venue for policy debates. Nor should it be a venue for scoring partisan points.
The debate about what policy should prevail in the executive branch was settled by voters when they elected Katie Hobbs governor. Hobbs should be able to staff her administration with officials who are committed to supporting and implementing her policies, even if Republican lawmakers disagree with those policies. There are other venues for the legislature to contest with Hobbs over policy.
The appropriate exercise of the confirmation authority in the separation of powers was addressed by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 76. In it, Hamilton said that the rejection of an executive branch nominee should be rare. And he enumerated the limited grounds on which confirmation should be withheld. The requirement that the Senate confirm executive nominees, Hamilton wrote, “would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity.”
None of Hobbs’ nominees to fill out her cabinet fit within these categories Hamilton identified as justifying denying the executive her choice of high-level officials within her administration. They all appear to be professionally qualified, not “unfit characters.”
There is nothing about the state confirmation process for executive branch appointments that would warrant a deviation from the principles regarding its appropriate use as explicated by Hamilton. Yet Senate President Warren Petersen has set in motion a process clearly intended to nobble Hobbs and her administration, substantively and politically.
Historically, confirmation hearings and recommendations have been the responsibility of standing committees that oversee similar subjects as the nominee’s writ. Petersen instead has appointed a special committee to handle all Hobbs’ nominees. And as chairman, he named Jake Hoffman, a MAGA cage fighter [and Coup Plotter co-conspirator and fake GQP elector.]
Perhaps Hoffman will exhibit unexpected responsibility and circumspection in his conduct of the committee’s business, with due deference to what should be, under the principles of the separation of powers, Hobbs’ ability to staff her administration with her choice of officials.
Far more likely, Hoffman will attempt to use the committee as a battering ram to damage and incapacitate Hobbs to the maximum extent possible. His press release after being named chairman was combative, and enunciated a very expansive and un-Hamiltonian view of the role of the state Senate in determining who should be permitted to staff the Hobbs administration.
The special committee to vet Hobbs’ nominees is split 3 to 2 in favor of Republicans. Keeping the confirmation process from deteriorating into a partisan punching bag will depend on the other two Republicans, Sine Kerr and T.J. Shope. Neither are MAGA cage fighters like Hoffman. Shope in particular has shown, from time to time, some sense of responsibility and independence from the MAGA miasma that has descended upon the Arizona GOP. So, there is some modicum of hope that Hobbs’ ability to staff her government won’t be completely derailed.
Note: Robert Robb failed to read the room. The MAGA Fascists are fully in charge, and there will be no deviation from their evil plot to sabotage Gov. Katie Hobbs’ administration.
BREAKING Senate Committee on Director Nominations votes 3-2 on party lines not to recommend Theresa Cullen as health services director.
— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) February 10, 2023
GOV. KATIE HOBBS: 'I stand by the nomination.' On to the full Senate then … pic.twitter.com/FTdnu1Os7G
— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) February 10, 2023
This is one of several signs that GOP legislators intend to try to overawe Hobbs rather than work with her to forge bipartisan compromises. Hobbs should not assume the worst. She should remain open to the possibility that, in the end, Senate Republicans will allow her to staff her administration with officials of her choosing. [Wrong!] And that, before there is a government shutdown, GOP lawmakers will be willing to negotiate a compromise state budget in good faith. [Wrong again! There is no “good faith” among the MAGA Fascists]
But Hobbs should be planning for the worst. Thinking through how to staff her administration if Senate Republicans are going to misuse the confirmation process to nobble her substantively and politically. Preparing options if the GOP leadership is never going to be willing to negotiate in good faith over the budget.
I think the GOP attempts to overawe Hobbs will fail. In office, she seems to be made of sterner stuff than was apparent on the campaign trail. GOP legislators probably also need a Plan B. But I’m not sure anyone in their ranks has the wit to devise one or the aptitude to bring it off.
Dennis Welch of ABC 15 reports, Senate committee approves DES director nominee, rejects AZDHS nominee:
Gov. Katie Hobbs’ pick to run one of the state’s largest departments cleared her first hurdle on Thursday, but another high-profile one failed. The Republican-led Senate Committee on Director Nominations approved Angie Rodgers, the former CEO of Arizona Food Bank Network, to lead the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Rodgers must now get the recommendation of the Senate to remain in the job. If she doesn’t get a vote from the full Senate, Rodgers can stay in the post for a year before leaving.
On Thursday evening, the same committee rejected Theresa Cullen as the new director of the Arizona Department of Health Services in a 3-2 vote along party lines. She is the director of the Pima County Public Health Department. Her nomination was expected to be more contentious because of her response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hobbs expressed her disappointment on Twitter.
It is a shame that the Senate committee has decided to play partisan politics in this case instead of doing what's best for Arizonans. Dr. Admiral Cullen's dedication and public health expertise is exactly what we need right now. pic.twitter.com/FnOD7IL6Fl
— Governor Katie Hobbs (@GovernorHobbs) February 10, 2023
Just to be clear, Covid deniers and anti-vaxxers killed the nomination of someone who is eminently qualified for the job because she followed the best practices of medical science, and she is not an anti-science Covid denier and anti-vaxxer nutjob like the Republicans who voted against her nomination and the MAGA/QAnon crazy base.
As for Rodgers, she would have to leave immediately if she fails to clear the upper chamber. Thursday was the first meeting for the newly-created committee, led by Republican Sen. Jake Hoffman, a harsh critic of the governor who has vowed to oppose the governor’s agenda. After nearly an hour, Rogers got the committee’s full recommendation, despite some concerns raised by Chairman Hoffman over how she’d work with the federal government. “I will be supporting your nomimation today and voting aye to recommend the full Senate confirm you but I will be flagging these concerns for the Senate president and members of the Senate,” he said.
The five-member panel – two Democrats and three Republicans – was also scheduled to review one more of the governor’s other nominees that still need full Senate confirmation. That would be nominee Karen Peters, who was tapped to run the Department of Environmental Quality.
The rejection of Dr. Cullen by Hoffman’s Star Chamber is not the end of this story. I believe that Dr. Cullen will need a full Senate vote to be officially declined, not just the Star Chamber’s recommendation. It is certainly possible that the whole Senate will not be so partisan and deluded. Even if they are not, however, Gov Hobbs can appoint Dr. Cullen as interim director for up to one year. In either case, this is a shame on the proper role of the AZ Senate in the confirmation process, as Meanie points out in the post: the AZGOP will come to regret setting such a precedent.