Bench Memos

White House Confusion on Appointments

I’m sure that the crack legal team at the White House has many more pressing matters to attend to, but it ought to be quite an embarrassment to it that the White House’s web page on “Nominations & Appointments” reflects utter confusion on the elementary matter of what an “appointment” is.  Specifically, that page lists President Obama’s nominees and has columns for the “Department/Agency” to which each has been nominated, the position, the “Appointment Date,” and the “Senate Confirmation Date.”  In every case, the Appointment Date is before the Senate Confirmation Date, and many of the Appointment Dates also precede January 20.

What the web page means by “Appointment Date” is not in fact the date of appointment, or even the date of nomination, but apparently the date on which President-elect or President Obama announced his intention to nominate a person to a particular position.  So, while I’m being helpful to the White House, let me suggest that the “Appointment Date” column be relabeled “Date of Announcement of Intended Nomination” and that a new “Appointment Date” column be added at the far right of the table. 

Now, if only we’d get some better nominees ….

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