Confirmation of Nominations before President of a Nation: Yes Congress can confirm Donald Trump’s nominations for Administrative Departments Prior to his taking the Presidential Oath

This week President Elect Trump’s nominations for the leaders of the Administrative Departments of the country are sitting before Congress at their confirmation hearings. On December 9, 2016 the Judiciary Committee of the Senate announced the confirmation hearing dates for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for the position of Attorney General of the United States. When I sent this announcement out to advocates, I received multiple questions of indignation “They can’t do this right? They are confirming these people before Trump takes the oath? They can’t do that he’s not the President yet?” My reply was yes they can and in fact this is not the first time it has been done.

How is this possible? The separation of powers makes this possible. Once the President Elect has been identified he/she one day – is considered this country’s next leader. They get all the bells and whistles – security clearance, Secret Service protectors, etc.  In fact this was the plan of the Constitution, this person must have prep time before officially taking office.

Prep time includes their nominating candidates for the Administration Cabinet. Once they formally nominate they can send the names to the Senate for vetting. It is the US Senate that confirms nominees for multiple high-level Administrative positions. The issue areas that the Department covers determine which Senate committee will conduct the nominees confirmation hearing. Attorney General is the head of the Department of Justice, so the confirmation hearing is held in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Trump submitted multiple nominees to the Senate in December for these positions and those committees started the vetting process back then. It must be said, he has some serious and knowledgeable strategists around him – a problem for our work ahead during his Presidency.

The separation of powers which is the three branches of government Executive, Legislative and Judiciary make it possible to hold the nominee confirmations for the position, prior to the President Elect taking oath. As a separate power, the legislative branch, in this case the US Senate runs this process.

This is part of the importance of having party majority. The party that holds the majority of either the House or Senate runs the agenda for the work being done in those entities. It is also why it is important for the country to NOT only concentrate on the Presidential election – ALL elections are important. The Republican Party won the majority in both Houses of Congress in November.

The legislative calendar is directed by the Majority leader of the Senate and House. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is the Majority leader of the Senate and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the House Majority Leader. They set the calendar for the 115th Congress, which is what we are in, to start on January 3, 2017.  Once Congress officially starts, they can set their own calendar and work plan. The chairs of the committees who received nominee names, decided to move forward and get things done prior to Trump coming into office. They want to have these people confirmed and their paper work done for the signature of the new President on January 20th.

This is not new other Administrations have done this as well. The AG of the US is almost always done first as you don’t want the country to go without a head of Justice for too long!  It is not just the US Attorneys but FBI, Law Enforcement, Prison administration along with other important law areas that are housed in the Department of Justice. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s confirmation hearings were held January 16 -19, 2001 and he took office February 2, 2001.

As Social Justice soldiers enter into these most difficult times, they must be aware of these policy procedures and rules that can and will be used to dismantle much of what many courageous souls over the past years have built.

I plan to use my talent and expertise as a Policy Analyst here in Washington, DC to educate and empower those who will stand up and fight.

Please leave comments, send me your questions about policy and pass the word about The WIYATT! (Thanks)


New York Times article on President George W. Bush nominees: The 43rd President: The Team; Democrat Chosen as Bush Completes Cabinet Selection by David E. Sanger – January 3, 2001




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A Repost: Y I Vote (Oct 2014)

Today is Election Day 2016 and this post is just as important as the first time I posted it in October 2014! I hope this inspires you to “Do the Right Thing”! Please read this, send to others you know and GET OUT THERE AND VOTE!

In less than a month the entire country will embark on the most important civil right held by each citizen 18 years or older. Civil rights ensure a persons ability to participate in the civil and political life of a state and society without discrimination or repression. The right to vote is considered the corner stone to all of our other rights. It is our fundamental right and should be cherished as so.

My maternal great-grandmother was Lillian Lula Walker (my mom’s namesake) a Republican who moved to Newark, NJ in the early 1950’s. She was one of those black community leaders who believed in the Republican Party because Lincoln had freed the slaves. She was a party loyalist voting for that party until her final days. I remember a story my grandfather, her eldest told us about his mother’s “stubborn ways”.

In the 1960 Presidential election my great-grandmother was ready to go out and cast her republican vote. By this time in her life, she relied upon the family for travel to and from places. The family decided not to take her to the Polls as she was not overly impressed by the young chap from Massachusetts running on the Democratic ticket.

Lillian got up November 8, 1960 got dressed and prepared to go to the polls to cast her vote for Richard Nixon. The family was having none of that and no one would drive her to the polls, not even her favorite son, my grandfather. But have no fears, she was not deterred. As I said Lillian was a community leader, she fought for the right to vote in her home state of Alabama; had registered hundreds to vote and had been involved in politics as soon as she was legally able. She got on the phone, called the Essex County Republican Party leaders and they sent a car with a volunteer to pick her up and take her to the Polls. That November 8, 1960 and every election day she was able to do so, Lillian Lula Walker cast her vote.

My family cherished the right to vote. Many of them living in Newark, NJ had no problems voting. But they always remembered the family they left behind in the South, who did not get that legal right until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and with the wait many years after that for the implementation of this law. Some would say that they continue to fight for the right to vote.

My grandfather took me with him to the Polls each election. He would let me ride with him when he drove people from the neighborhood to the polls. My mother registered people to vote until her final days. She was living in the Charlotte, NC area and joined Rev. Barber of the NAACP in his work around NC to increase voter education, get out the vote and protect voter rights. My first election was June 2, 1987 in the NJ State primary elections for the state legislature.

I was blessed to attend a high school where my principal would not allow a senior to graduate if they had not registered to vote. Although, I graduated from high school at the age of 17, as our ceremony was in early May, she still made sure I registered. The League of Women Voters came to our school once a month and registered students who would be eligible for voting. I joined them that year and remain an active member wherever I live. They have been a wonderful resource, assisted me with voter registration, outreach and been wonderful mentors to me.

During this election season, when you go to your polling site to cast your vote, remember the millions of lives lost; the number of people imprisoned for trying to cast a ballot; the millions of people who are barred from participating in elections of any kind for reasons out of their control; the millions of prisoners here in the US stripped of this right and those formerly incarcerated persons who have not regained their right to vote due to lack of compassion by others who have yet to provide them with a “second chance”.

You history buffs and policy wonks know this! In 1960 Richard Nixon lost the election with 49.6% of the votes. The other guy had 49.7% of the votes to win and there was a 112,827 vote difference that made John F. Kennedy the 35th President of the United States of America; and the rest as they say is history.

Your vote matters and don’t let anyone tell you different!

Please leave comments and pass the word about The WIYATT! (Thanks)




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