Sandy Levinson discusses another way in which the presidency has a good deal of market power in the appointment process (link)
If one tries to be at least somewhat fair to Sen. Schumer, though, one might look at one justification that he offered, his fears that George W. Bush would simply name someone far worse–and one can easily think of people who are worse that Mukasey–to a recess appointment. This would, of course, completely eliminate any role of the Senate in deciding who serves as the country’s highest legal officer within the Executive Branch. This is a realistic fear, but, of course, it’s a fear that arises only because we have a Constitution that includes the recess appointment power.
The recess appointment power gives the presidency another way to reduce the importance of the Senate in the appointment process.
A commenter notes that the constitutional clause that allows recess appointments has been interpreted quite broadly
The plain language of the Constitution is that recess appointments may be made to fill vacancies “that may happen during the Recess of the Senate”. In other words, recess appointments are available when an office becomes vacant while the Senate is in recess. If an office becomes vacant while the Senate is in session, the President has no power to make an appointment merely because he fails to obtain the consent of the Senate to his nominee.
I am aware that there is a legal literature on both sides of this question, but I find the prevailing opinion incomprehensible.
This type of interpretation is probably a result of the fact the presidency has so much market power in appointing Supreme Court Judges sympathetic to executive power.