There's no basis for Republican protests that Democrats who want confirmation hearings delayed until background investigations and ethics clearances of President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees are finished are acting out of jealousy.

Walter M. Shaub Jr., head of the Office of Government Ethics, said Friday that he knew of no other occasion in the office's four decades when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before a review was completed. So why the rush now? It sends the wrong message about the next administration.

The point of having the Senate clear appointees is to ensure the American people that the appointees are qualified for the jobs and will faithfully serve the public; not their own or special interests. Under the jammed schedule, that's hardly possible.

Hearings kick off Tuesday with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) who is up for attorney general. Sessions has called the Voting Rights Act burdensome legislation. How can anyone have faith that he will enforce it? Questions over his attitudes on racial discrimination kept him from becoming a federal judge in Alabama in 1986.

Also this week are hearings for Gen. John Kelley to head homeland security, and for Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon CEO with close ties to Russia, to be secretary of state. Given Russia's hacking, Tillerson's relationship with that country's oil industry deserves detailed examination. But that could get lost in the parade of Cabinet nominees, including for the CIA, and the education, transportation, labor, and other departments.

Democrats' minority status means they can't derail Trump's nominees, but they and their Republican colleagues have a duty to scrutinize each one. Taking a speed-dating approach to clearing people who will have extraordinary impacts on the lives of every American should be slowed so the Senate can do its job properly.

The hectic pace was set by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) whose wife, Elaine Chao, was nominated by Trump to be transportation secretary. That's an extra incentive for McConnell to jam nominees through the process, but it's a clear conflict of interest. McConnell's first priority should be to use the Senate as a check on executive power.

The rush to have the Senate confirm appointments before background checks are completed comes a week after House Republicans voted to dissolve their independent ethics watchdog. Fortunately, public criticism as well as by the president-elect led to withdrawal of that idea.

Trump still hasn't explained how he will handle his domestic and foreign business ties, which he now says he will do Wednesday. He's made that promise before, however, so this may be another diversionary tactic. Neither Trump or his Cabinet nominees should be exempt from examination.

So many Trump nominees appear ill suited for their posts. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, who abhors the Affordable Care Act, is nominated for health secretary. Thorough investigations and hearings can help ensure foxes aren't being invited into hen houses.