George W. Bush's nomination of the John "There is no such thing as the United Nations" Bolton on Mar. 7 was a slap in the face to the United Nations. -- Now Bush has slapped in the face the United States Senate by appointing Bolton without the Senate's consent. -- Under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, the Senate must give "Advice and Consent" to those nominated by the president to be ambassadors of the United States of America, right? -- Well, only if the president feels like it, according to the White House. -- On Monday morning in a White House ceremony, the president blamed "partisan delaying tactics by a handful of senators" as an excuse for appointing John Bolton without the Senate's consent, invoking "my constitutional authority." -- "Partisan delaying tactics"? -- In fact, the delay was chiefly due to Republican Senator George Voinovich. -- "My constitutional authority"? -- In fact, the president's power to make recess appointments like this one is highly dubious. -- The recess appointment power is merely a relic of 18th-century mores; in the modern era, recess appointments are an abuse of executive power. -- Knight Ridder's James Kuhnhenn has written that John Bolton's appointment may be challenged. -- And there was no mention at the neo-Orwellian appointment ceremony of Bolton's radical neoconservative views and his real agenda at the U.N. -- John Bolton does not really believe in the existence of international law. -- "Treaties are laws only for U.S. domestic purposes. In their international operation, treaties are simply political obligations," he said in 1997. -- "It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so -- because, over the long term, the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States," he said in 2001. -- In a press release following the appointment, Sen. Joseph Biden, who led the fight against Bolton, said: "Sending John Bolton to the U.N. behind the Senate's back is a mistake is every respect. . . . This is not the intended use of the Presidents recess power -- its an abuse of that power. . . . Mr. Bolton does not have the full confidence of the U.S. Senate. . . . John Bolton repeatedly tried to stretch intelligence and to remove intelligence analysts who disagreed with him. . . . [H]e was not fully forthcoming during the confirmation process. . . . Mr. Bolton was not held up by partisan delaying tactics by a handful of senators. Forty-four senators objected to giving Mr. Bolton a vote until the administration gave the Senate information to which it was entitled -- hardly a handful. One of Mr. Bolton's leading opponents was my Republican colleague, Sen. George Voinovich." -- For this act, the president should be charged with contempt in the court of public opinion, tried, and convicted. -- This is behavior suitable for the leader of an empire, not the president of a democratic republic....
TEXT OF REMARKS AT BOLTON'S APPOINTMENT
August 1, 2005
-- President Bush's remarks Monday in naming John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations through a recess appointment, as transcribed by the White House:
BUSH: Nearly five months ago, I nominated John Bolton to be America's Ambassador to the United Nations. I chose John because of his vast experience in foreign policy, his integrity and his willingness to confront difficult problems head-on. I told the nation that John Bolton would provide clear American leadership for reform at the United Nations. I told them that he would insist upon results.
The United States Senate held thorough confirmation hearings, and a majority of United States senators agree that he is the right man for the job. Yet, because of partisan delaying tactics by a handful of senators, John was unfairly denied the up or down vote that he deserves.
As a result, America has now gone more than six months without a permanent ambassador to the United Nations. This post is too important to leave vacant any longer, especially during a war and a vital debate about U.N. reform. So today I've used my constitutional authority to appoint John Bolton to serve as America's ambassador to the United Nations. John Bolton will be an important member of my State Department team, led by Condoleezza Rice.
I'm sending Ambassador Bolton to New York with my complete confidence. Ambassador Bolton believes passionately in the goals of the United Nations Charter, to advance peace and liberty and human rights. His mission is now to help the U.N. reform itself to renew its founding promises for the 21st century. He will speak for me on critical issues facing the international community. And he'll make it clear that America values the potential of the United Nations to be a source of hope and dignity and peace.
As he embarks on his new assignment, Ambassador Bolton will bring tremendous wisdom and expertise. Over the past two decades, John Bolton has been one of America's most talented and successful diplomats. He's been a tireless defender of our nation's values, and a persuasive advocate for freedom and peace. As a senior leader at the State Department in the 1980s and 1990s, he brought people together to achieve meaningful results at the United Nations -- from resolving payment issues, to helping rally the coalition in the Persian Gulf War, to repealing a shameful resolution that equated Zionism with racism. And over the past four years as undersecretary of State, he's shown valuable leadership on one of the most urgent challenges of our time: preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
Ambassador Bolton takes up his duties at a time of opportunity for the United States and the United Nations. America and the U.N. are working to spread democracy, relieve hunger and assist the victims of disaster. We've delivered hope to millions suffering from HIV/AIDS and other deadly diseases. We've helped to lay the groundwork for two landmark events in the history of liberty: the free elections of Afghanistan and Iraq. Ambassador Bolton will work to build on that progress by helping the U.N. continue to find effective new ways to match its good intentions with good results.
As the newest member of America's diplomatic corps, Ambassador Bolton will defend our nation's interests with character and resolve that were instilled early in life. John's father was a firefighter; his mother was a homemaker who took her son to the public library to show him the value of education. I know that Jack and Virginia Bolton would be proud today to see the boy they raised in Baltimore appointed to serve as our permanent representative to the United Nations.
I'm grateful to John's wife, Gretchen, for being here with us and to the entire Bolton family for their service and sacrifice.
Mr. Ambassador, thank you for agreeing to serve your nation once again, and congratulations.
BOLTON: Mr. President; Madam Secretary; my wife, Gretchen; our daughter, J.S, in absentia. I'm profoundly honored, indeed, humbled by the confidence that you have shown by appointing me to serve as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations. You have made your directions for U.S. policy at the United Nations clear, and I am prepared to work tirelessly to carry out the agenda and initiatives that you and Secretary Rice direct.
We seek a stronger, more effective organization, true to the ideals of its founders and agile enough to act in the 21st century. It will be a distinct privilege to be an advocate for America's values and interests at the U.N., and, in the words of the U.N. Charter, to help maintain international peace and security.
My deepest thanks to you both for the opportunity to continue to serve America.
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks, John, appreciate you.
All right, thank you all.
BIDEN 'DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED' IN BOLTON RECESS APPOINTMENT
United States Senate
August 1, 2005
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement:
"Sending John Bolton to the U.N. behind the Senate's back is a mistake is every respect. The reason John Bolton didnt get a vote in the Senate is because the administration refused to provide information to which no one disputes the Senate is entitled. This is not the intended use of the Presidents recess power -- its an abuse of that power. A recess appointment is appropriate when the Senate is unable to act, or unwilling to act. Its not appropriate when the administration is acting in bad faith."
"Mr. Bolton does not have the full confidence of the U.S. Senate. This recess appointment will hurt our nations interests and hinder Mr. Boltons effectiveness." Since the UNs founding in 1945, the United States has sent 24 ambassadors to the U.N. Not one has been recess appointed.
"We know that John Bolton repeatedly tried to stretch intelligence and to remove intelligence analysts who disagreed with him. We know he was not fully forthcoming during the confirmation process." Just last week the State Department admitted that Mr. Bolton failed to disclose key information about having been interviewed by the Inspector General regarding the intelligence failures in Iraq.
"After all weve been through in Iraq with the misuse of intelligence by policymakers, promoting Mr. Bolton sends exactly the wrong message. More than ever, we need someone who can stand up and make the case about North Korea or Irans nuclear aspirations. We need someone who has credibility with the international community and Americans can trust. That is not John Bolton."
Senator Biden also expressed disappointment in the President's statement today. "Mr. Bolton was not held up by partisan delaying tactics by a handful of senators. 44 senators objected to giving Mr. Bolton a vote until the administration gave the Senate information to which it was entitled -- hardly a handful. One of Mr. Bolton's leading opponents was my Republican colleague, Sen. George Voinovich -- hardly a partisan flame thrower."
Senator Biden strongly disputed the notion that Mr. Bolton is critical to the important effort to reform the U.N., noting that just four days after Mr. Boltons nomination was announced, the administration appointed someone else -- Dr. Shirin Tahir-Kheli -- to do that job.
Senator Biden expressed the hope that when this temporary assignment expires, the President will send the Senate a more credible nominee. The Constitution says that recess appointments shall "expire at the end of" the next congressional session. Therefore, Mr. Boltons temporary assignment ends the day the 2nd session of the 109th Congress adjourns, which is likely to be October of 2006.