Lott block may not doom Adelstein


Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) hasn't backed down on his threat
to block the nomination of Jonathan Adelstein to the Federal Communications
Commission, should the White House ever send it up to the Senate.

Political observers said they expect Adelstein to eventually get his seat,
although the likelihood gets lower the longer the nomination lingers.

So, what does blocking a nomination mean? Well, in some cases, almost nothing
at all.

Former FCC chairman William Kennard's nomination was blocked by Sen. Conrad
Burns (R-Mont.), and Kennard took over the chair in short order. But other
nominees have not been so lucky.

President Clinton nominated then-FCC Common Carrier Bureau chief Regina
Keeney in 1996, and the Republican-controlled Senate let it sit there and

In 1988 and 1989, then-Senate Commerce Committee chairman Fritz Hollings
(D-S.C.) (sound familiar?) refused to hold hearings for Washington attorney
Susan Wing and FCC official Brad Holmes. They, too, never made it.

And then there was FCC commissioner Stephen Sharp, who did manage to get
confirmed during Mark Fowler's reign but faced legislation that limited his term
to less than one year and cut the panel, including him, from seven commissioners
to five.