Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Senator Salazar at Interior

I think that Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado can rise to the occasion and make a good Interior Secretary. Some of my friends in the environmental community are upset with his selection. Right now a moderate seems like a godsend for the Interior Department. The real meat here will lay in the selection of strong BLM and Fish and Wildlife Directors, and courageous Assistant Secretaries who wont be afraid of taking strong messages to the Secretary’s office and the White House. Do not forget that we once again have a Democratic President who knows nothing about western public land policy. Nor does his close aides and staff. But we do have a very smart man coming into the White House and I have hopes he won't hang us out to dry for the oil and gas, livestock and mining industries. Time will tell.

One last thing Senator. Lose the cowboy hat. It does look a little dorky in DC.


NewMexiKen said...

I believe that Senator Salazar, like Senator Clinton, is constitutionally prohibited from a cabinet appointment.

As I'm sure you know, Article I, Section 6, of the Constitution states: “No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time . . .”

Salazar was elected for the time January 3, 2005, through January 3, 2011. Since 2005 the "emoluments" for Secretary of the Interior have been increased from $180,100 to $191,300 per annum.

The plain language of the Constitution provides no "Saxbe" loophole -- that is, no ex post facto reduction of the emoluments.

As soon as some individual is harmed by an action taken by Secretary Salazar, that individual will have standing to challenge the action based on Salazar's constitutional incapacity to serve.

And someone will make that challenge. And it will go to the Supreme Court.

Do you care to guess how those strict constructionists will decide?

I am saying nothing here about Salazar's or Clinton's fitness for appointment. I am simply saying that in this time someone will make the constitutional challenge, whereas they might not have 20 or 30 years ago.

And I believe the challenge will be upheld. Ultimately, even if it is not, the authority of Salazar or Clinton will be limited while the question works it way through the courts.

Chris Clarke said...

Delighted to find your blog, Mr. Baca. I'm adding you to my blogroll over at

I hope you're right about Senator Salazar rising to the occasion. I'll confess I'm troubled by what seems an apparent shout-out to the Wise Use folks in the remarks he made today with President-Elect Obama, and the degree to which the President-Elect stressed energy development as an Interior priority.