Nothing Wrong With Czars, Experts Testify

But GOP's Collins vows to keep the 'issue' alive with more hearings

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 7, 2009 7:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – The anti-czar crusade hit quite the speed bump yesterday, when five constitutional scholars testified in a Senate hearing that it was indeed perfectly legal for the president to have policy advisers. They said the principle dated back to FDR and that, assuming the czars didn’t have any actual legal authority, there wasn’t an issue. “Practical authority is not legal authority,” noted one scholar.

But Republicans weren’t going to be so easily deterred. Susan Collins vowed to keep the issue alive with another hearing in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “The appointments of so many czars have muddied the waters,” she argued, “risking miscommunication going forward.” The experts say Congress has little authority over the czars, who are ultimately members of the president’s personal staff.

President-elect Barack Obama listens as Carol Browner his newly designated White House energy czar speaks at a news conference in Chicago, Monday, Dec. 15, 2008.   (AP Photo)
Susan Collins and Joseph Lieberman are seen on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Sept. 22,2009, prior to the start of a hearing on the Weapons of Mass Destruction Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2009.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
Robert Byrd, seen in this July 17, 2008 file photo, has objected to Obama's use of czars.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Former 'Green Jobs Czar' Van Jones is seen in this June 16, 2009 file photo.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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