Home » Unprecedented: Blocking Confirmation Because of Objections to the Agency Rather Than the Nominee

Unprecedented: Blocking Confirmation Because of Objections to the Agency Rather Than the Nominee

In December 2011, when the Senate failed to act on Richard Cordray’s original nomination to head the CFPB, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown said it was an unprecedented act. Brown stated at the  time that he had put the question to the Senate historian: “[H]as this ever happened, that a political party has blocked a nomination of someone because they didn’t like the construction of the agency?” And the historian had replied: “No, it’s never happened.”

PolitiFact Ohio sought – and got – confirmation from Senate historian Donald A. Ritchie. “We searched through past cases,” Ritchie emailed back, “and could not find anything that fit the current circumstance.”

The closest analogies that Ritchie’s office could provide were 19th century cases of nominees rejected because of “major disagreements between Congress and the president over policy… but they did not involve a blanket blocking of nominees to a particular agency.”