Congress Eliminates Confirmation Requirement For Key Justice Department Jobs


The U.S. House of Representatives this week approved legislation already passed by the Senate that would eliminate the confirmation requirement for about 170 executive posts, including five in key U.S. Justice Department agencies, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and Office for Victims of Crime. The bill does not affect the Office for Violence Against Women. The juvenile justice agency has not had a Senate-confirmed director during President Obama’s term.

Congressional Research Service aid that when President John F. Kennedy took office in 1961, about 850 positions were subject to Senate confirmation; by the Obama presidency, about 1,215 were, reports Congressional Quarterly. The time it takes nominations to receive Senate confirmation has increased. Posts requiring Senate confirmation may be empty or filled by acting officials as much as one-quarter of the time. Laurie Robinson, former

Assistant Attorney General for Justice Programs, told the Crime Report, “I’m cheering the passage of this legislation. Few people outside the Beltway care whether some Washington official is Senate confirmed or not. What they care about is whether federal programs are working effectively. The bill is a common sense step toward getting appointees in place quickly and making government work.”

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