Schumer/Gillibrand’s required commit of Dickson is not ADVICE and CONSENT; more like COMMAND and CONTROL

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Schumer and Gillibrand demand FAA nominee to commit to addressing helicopter noise before confirmation by Senate

Senators specify conditions PRIOR to voting for Dickson’s nomination

Not vague requests, but specific demands

If Dickson agreed to the Senators’, the final action would violate at least two statutes

Under the United States Constitution Article II, Section 2, paragraph 2, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand with their fellow 98 Members of the upper legislative body are empowered to provide ADVICE AND CONSENT on the nomination of Stephen M. Dickson to head the Federal Aviation Administration

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearings on May 15 and as with most candidates in these politically divisive times, the Captain was questions extensively. Subsequently, a story surfaced about his involvement at Delta in a whistleblower case.

A Senator may vote “nay” in response to his nomination because she/he believes that the candidate is not qualified or even for political reasons.





The NY Senators choose instead to require the nominee “to commit” before they vote to the following REQUIREMENTS?

As the cover to the post (which shows the specific helicopter routes at issue), this is not a vaguely worded demand which, if one agreed to, would become a contract. If Captain Dickson were to agree to the Schumer/Gillibrand terms, the Senators would like try to enforce the specifics of the agreement.

The powers associated with Advice and Consent as abused as that process has become, are limited to a yes or no vote. Requiring that someone AGREE to something specific is an extension of that Constitutional provision beyond the Founding Fathers’ wildest imagination.

  • Asking Dickson to commit to complete reading the comments-NO PROBLEM
    • The FAA is already statutorily required
  • Compelling the candidate to select two routes specified by the Senators —BIG PROBLEM
    • Both NEPA and the APA preclude the decision-maker from prejudging the final decision.
    • It s quite possible that the Schumer-Gillibrand route may have other infirmities—safety, other collateral environmental impacts, inefficiency[1] and other factors. To follow the direction and implement the North and South Shore routes as required by the Senators would be a gross violation of both statutes.
  • Improving communications with the Communities and seeking input—NO PROBLEM








  • “prioritizing FAA resources towards noise mitigation projects”— NO PROBLEM, but
    • this is one of the BEST Legislative phrases ever written because it is so vacuous:
      • prioritize over what? Take staff away from safety projects to work on the Schumer-Gillibrand project. Would the Senators take blame if the safety project delay resulted in a crash?
      • prioritize over what? Transfer the airport personnel working on funding on one of the airports to which the Senator was responsible for funding?

Such directions to a nominee is not ADVICE and CONSENT. Maybe the Senators would like to amend the Constitution to add the operative words COMMAND and CONTROL?



[1] Hypothetically, one of these helicopter routes could affect the JFK operations. Even the Senators would agree that reduction of operations at one of NY’s biggest economic generators would not be advisable.

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1 Comment on "Schumer/Gillibrand’s required commit of Dickson is not ADVICE and CONSENT; more like COMMAND and CONTROL"

    TAKING ON NYC HELICOPTER FLIGHTS: A group of lawmakers who want to get rid of helicopter flights over New York City are taking their argument to de Blasio. The Democrats, who previously wrote to the FAA requesting that it take action in the wake of a fatal crash last month, are now asking for a meeting with the mayor. De Blasio has said the FAA would have to be the body to ban non-essential helicopter flights, but some, like former NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, think the city has the authority to take action without waiting for the feds.
    Reps. Jerry Nadler, Nydia Velázquez, and Carolyn Maloney argue in the letter that the city has the power to stop the flights. “As New York City is the owner of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport and 34th Street Heliport, it is within your authority to end concession contracts at these heliports for non-essential flights,” they wrote.
    New York’s two senators, have said they plan to push FAA administrator nominee Steve Dickson to commit to addressing the problem of overhead aircraft noise in New York. “We need to hear from the nominee about what will be done to address the high levels of airplane and helicopter noise that challenge so many communities in Long Island, Queens, the Bronx and elsewhere,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

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