Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A modest proposal: Appoint Ralph Nader to replace Ann Ravel on the FEC.

 Ann Ravel has resigned from the FEC. As is often the case, Hasen covered it before I did.  Traditionally, each of the two big parties gets seats on the commision,  while independents and minor parties get none. This seems to arise out of the byplay of senate confirmation, rather than being requird by the enabling legislation. Such legislation might be challenged as an equal protection violation, but senate practice is probably a nonjusticiable olitical question.

  At one time, President Clinton tried to withhold the nomination of Brad Smith. The result was that none of Clinton's judicial nominations went forward for over a year until Clinton backed down and appointed Smith. (This is just the way I remember it; I could be wrong on facts here or there.)
See also Zagoria.

  So, even though his party controls both the senate and house, Trump is constrained from nominating a 4th republican, or, say, a Libertarian like Bill Redpath, the current LP chair Nick (last name escapes me, will edit) or Richard Winger. Those would make fine choices if a GOP seat comes up.

  But I think Trump could get away with nominating Ralph Nader, if he wants the job. (I don't know anything about his current health or level of interest, but I'm assuming he'd be a yes.)
Nader is a public servant, a skilled lawyer and manager of lawyers, a solid liberal, and knows the minutiae of FEC practices.

  He's run for president as an Independent and as the Green Party nominee.
In 2000, his presence in the race in Florida set up Bush v Gore and tipped the result to Bush.

So nominating Nader would have something for liberals, minor party supporters, and Bush fans.
Maybe some Democrats hold a grudge for Florida. Maybe Ralph wouldn't want the job. I am not a Washington insider, and there could be many reasons why this wouldn't work. If, somehow, Trump were to want to do this, the first step should be to suggest it to the Senate Democratic leadership,
rather than try to go it alone.

Another approach Trump could try is to appoint somebody famous for being a liberal Democrat who cares about free speech. I think of Nadine Strossen as being in this camp; could be wrong.

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