The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee has just released the agenda for its October 21st executive session, i.e., its business meeting, "Executive Session - Any Nominations Cleared for Action." Listed are 11 nominees for the committee to "mark up" -- act on -- including President Obama's three nominees to the National Labor Relations Board and his nominee of David Michaels to be the administrator of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
None of these candidates has gone through a public hearing before the committee. Their approval and Senate confirmation now seems set to occur without the scrutiny and accountability that accompany a hearing.
Point of Law has posted previously on Michaels' dislike of the Daubert ruling meant to guard against junk science being introduced into court, his reflexive antagonism toward business, and his alignment with the interests of the litigation industry and "consumer activists." Business groups have cited serious concerns about Michaels' record and philosophy to call for a Senate hearing, a public session during which the nominee could explain his views in more detail. (See here and here.)
President George W. Bush's nominee to head OSHA, Ed Foulke, testified before the HELP Committee on January 31, 2006 -- back when Republicans held a majority. So skipping Michaels is not a matter of protocol or tradition.
We can only conclude that the Republican members of the HELP Committee did not demand a hearing, did not raise a fuss, didn't even bother with a perfunctory Senatorial hold. Perhaps they felt they weren't up to a fight.
As for the NLRB...well, it's another victory for the SEIU's will to power.