I've argued before that the Netroots should spearhead an effort to put together a list of dozens of Bush appointees (cronies, sons and daughters and spouses of cronies, etc.) so ill-suited for their jobs that the re-emergence of a functioning bureaucracy is actually predicated upon their removal. That list should be presented to the Democratic nominee next year, and the nominee should face massive pressure to, if elected, fire those people as an early order of business if. But is this legal? Is it, like the attorney firings, massively shady? Cass Sunstein explores the question:
Under President Reagan, the executive branch argued, with real vigor, on behalf of a strongly unitary executive. The Supreme Court has rejected those arguments. But many issues remain open. We do not know, for example, exactly what kind of power the president may exercise over the independent agencies. (Suppose that President Hillary Clinton or Rudy Giuliani wants to get rid of Bush appointees to the NLRB, the FCC, the FTC, and the SEC; can she or he do so? What if Clinton and Giuliani think that the policy judgments of the Bush appointees are not merely bad but terrible?) In approaching the open questions, recent presidents have tended to continue to argue that the executive is strongly unitary.
I realize this can be dangerous territory, but continue to think this is a good idea if it is really, truly a one-off project. And if recent history is any indication, even a strongly adverse Congress is pretty much no match for the unitary executive theory. If the Congress stays Democratic--and all indications are that it will--I don't think you'll hear a peep from them about the firings.