Presidential Appointments, the Senate's Confirmation Process, and Proposals for Change, 112th Congress [July 8, 2011] [open pdf - 290KB]
"The responsibility for populating top positions in the executive and judicial branches of government is one the Senate and the President share. The President nominates an individual, the Senate may confirm him, and the President would then present him with a signed commission. The Constitution divided the responsibility for choosing those who would run the federal government by granting the President the power of appointment and the Senate the power of advice and consent. […] The Senate has approved both measures. The Senate passed an amended version of S. 679, by a vote of 79-20, on June 29. The Senate agreed to an amended version of S.Res. 116, by a vote of 89-8, the same day. S. 679 has gone to the House for its consideration; the provisions of S.Res. 116 are now a standing order of the Senate and will take effect for nominations received after August 28, 2011. This report provides a brief background on advice and consent issues, an overview of the appointment process in both the executive and legislative branches, and a brief discussion of recent concerns about the system. Next, the report explores the events in the 112th Congress leading up to the introduction and Senate action on S. 679 and S.Res. 116, and concludes with an analysis of the two measures."
CRS Report for Congress, R41872