A nine-second session gaveled in and out by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., prevented Bush from appointing as an assistant attorney general a nominee roundly rejected by majority Democrats. Without the pro forma session, the Senate would be technically adjourned, allowing the president to install officials without Senate confirmation. [...]
Democrats wanted to block one such recess appointment in particular: Steven Bradbury, acting chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Counsel. Bush nominated Bradbury for the job and asked the Senate to remove the “acting” in his title.
Democrats would have none of it, complaining Bradbury had signed two secret memos in 2005 saying it was OK for the CIA to use harsh interrogation techniques — some call it torture — on terrorism detainees.
More on Bradbury’s nomination HERE.