On April 4, President Bush named Susan Dudley as White House regulatory czar through a recess appointment. Dudley will now serve in the White House Office of Management and Budget as administrator of the powerful Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

By installing Dudley through a recess appointment, Bush has bypassed the Senate and circumvented the constitutional confirmation process.  Bush originally nominated Dudley in 2006, but the Senate did not hold a confirmation vote.  The president then renominated her earlier this year, essentially restarting the process.  The new Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs began planning to establish a record and hold at least one hearing.  Now that Bush has short-circuited the process, the Senate has been denied its constitutional opportunity to give its advice and consent on such a controversial nominee.

Since her original nomination, Dudley has been met with a firestorm of criticism due to her record of anti-regulatory extremism.  She has opposed some of our nation’s most basic environmental, safety and public health protections, including ground-level ozone limits, workplace ergonomic standards, and airbag requirements for passenger vehicles.

The fact that Dudley is now in charge of an office that is responsible for reviewing and approving federal agencies’ most significant regulations is bad enough.  That Bush would thumb his nose at the Senate by using a recess appointment to put Dudley in that position is nothing short of appalling.