"I think he's going to do it," says TIME White House correspondent Karen Tumulty. "Why not? Will he be in trouble with Republicans? Sure. But what can they do to him? At least he'll finally get one of his nominations."
Lee has run afoul of the Republican Congress because like Clinton, he refuses to disavow affirmative action as a weapon against racial inequality. Which makes Lee's appointment critical if Clinton is to put any teeth into his recent mini-wave of civil rights and race initiatives. The White House would ultimately prefer to win it the old-fashioned way when Congress returns. But Clinton may decide that the best victory is always the surest.