Monday, March 29, 2010

Bersin in at CBP in Recess Appointment

Back in September of 2009, President Obama nominated Alan Bersin to take the helm at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. My original post, which includes his biographical details, is here.

To date, the Senate has not acted on the nomination. In fact, lots of nominations have languished. Some of that can be blamed on people being focused on health care and other pressing legislative issued. But, CBP commissioner is an important job that needs to be filled. The same can be said for TSA, but that is a different story (in brief, two nominees have backed out).

Apparently, the President is tired of waiting. Over the weekend, he exercised is constitutional prerogative to make recess appointments. In case any birther or other crank is worried about the legality of recess appointments, the Constitution specifically grants the President this authority in Article II, Section 2, Clause 3, which says "The President shall have power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session." There is not even a limitation requiring that the appointment be in furtherance of the need for "a well regulated militia."

Bersin was among those appointed. So, we now have a new Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. At least until the end of the next session of the Senate, at which time he will have to have been confirmed. As always, it will be interesting to see whether the change in leadership produces meaningful change visible to individual importers and others subject to Customs' regulatory oversight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Larry -

Another in a long line of Commissioners who really don't know a darned thing about the job. I could name several people who are in private practice or retired that KNOW the challenges of CBP work and are eminently better qualified, but these folks are not politically "wired."

CBP's WORK gets done in spite of who's at the top. Washington could get nuked, and the field CBP officers would carry on quite well, thank you. The agency was born in the field, and works in the field irrespective of what's going on at Headquarters.

Your faithful Customs retiree.