Q: Why do you think Democrats, especially Senate Democrats, oppose your nomination so much? Some have said, âThereâs no way weâll have Steven Bradbury confirmed.â
A: I very much respect the role the Senate plays, the essential role in all areas, but obviously in the express provisions of the Constitution giving advice and consent to nominations. Thatâs their prerogative. I respect the process. ... I understand very well the fact that some policies that the administration has pursued in the war on terror have raised novel, controversial, and difficult legal questions. And this office has unavoidably been at the center of addressing those difficult and novel questions.
Bradbury also later offers his view about the relationship between Congress and the president. It's an eye opening narrative of events. Remember that for roughly six years, the administration conducted a warrantless wiretapping program in contravention of a law passed by Congress and without the knowledge of all but a very few lawmakers. When the program was finally exposed by The New York Times, the administration defended it, and then ultimately modified it just before the Dems took control of Congress so that it complied with FISA. That, to Bradbury, is a "healthy process of back and forth":
There has really been, I think, a healthy process of back and forth between the political branches in an evolutionary way in response to the novel threat posed by this unusual nontraditional conflict [i.e. the war on terror]. The same is true with the NSA surveillance, where the president put in place certain authorities based on his constitutional authority and based on the extraordinary authorization for the use of military force that Congress passed in the wake of 9/11. And now, years later, Congress is working with the president, attempting to put in place permanent legislation that would essentially enable this kind of nimble, modern-day surveillance to address the needs of the intelligence community in light of changes in technology and in light of the particular threat that is posed by international terrorists who hide out in communities here in the U.S. and other countries around the world.
So, in conclusion, Bradbury "very much respects" the Senate's role in confirming nominees while at the same time serving in the position for more than three years without confirmation, and thinks that hiding an illegal program from Congress for years is just part of a healthy "back and forth." Got that?