In today’s Washington Post, attorneys David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, who served under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, take exception to all the conservatives who are lambasting President Obama over his appointment of presidential advisers, whom they have dubbed “czars.” Rivkin and Casey argue that in fact, subjecting all these advisers to a Senate confirmation process would perhaps be unconstitutional:
The White House czars are presidential assistants charged with responsibility for given policy areas. As such, they are among the president’s closest advisers. In many respects, they are equivalent to the personal staff of a member of Congress. To subject the qualifications of such assistants to congressional scrutiny — the regular confirmation process — would trench upon the president’s inherent right, as the head of an independent and equal branch of the federal government, to seek advice and counsel where he sees fit.
They also note that the “critical difference between the White House czars and federal officials who must be confirmed by the Senate” is that while the former can “drive the policymaking process,” only the latter can legally “determine what policy will be.”