Throughout 2006, Bradbury argued forcefully that the Supreme Court’s rejection of the administration’s military tribunals in terrorism cases was incorrectly decided. He argued that Geneva Conventions language barring “humiliating and degrading treatment” was hopelessly vague, and subject to “uncertain and unpredictable application.” He was a leading advocate of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which revoked habeas corpus for terrorism detainees. He authored an opinion immunizing ex-White House counsel Harriet Miers from testifying in the U.S. attorneys investigation. And, most infamously, he apparently authored secret memoranda reauthorizing torture techniques, including waterboarding.
The White House, unsurprisingly, views it differently. From its perspective, the Senate warped the equation by routinely holding up even unobjectionable nominees for political reasons or no discernible reason at all. More than 165 nominations are pending, White House officials said, so the recess appointment becomes a necessary corrective tool to fill vacancies and keep government moving.
“The Senate’s role is to advise and consent, not attack and condemn,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. “This harassment of nominees turns away qualified people who would otherwise want to serve their country. This is just another example of the breakdown of Congress under this leadership.”