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.