The Corner

Biden’s First Cabinet Confirmation Snags

Neera Tanden speaks at a hearing with the Senate Committee on the Budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 10, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/Pool via Reuters)

Generally speaking, the Senate should be willing to give the president the cabinet he wants. But that doesn’t mean that the Constitution’s assignment of a power to advise and consent on key appointments should be treated as a mere formality. Some presidential appointees are just bad choices that the Senate should reject, and deciding where to draw that line is a matter of judgment that should reach beyond simple partisan loyalties.

Senators have usually been pretty good about finding a reasonable balance on this front. Most cabinet nominations get confirmed, and many are confirmed with bipartisan support. That’s still true, even

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.


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