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HOLDING AND REASONING:

Definition

(Taft, C.J.) Yes. The president must have the exclusive power to remove executive officers without the advice and consent of the Senate. The Articles of Confederation, which were in effect during the American Revolution, gave Congress both appointment and removal power over executive officers. However, the Constitution does not address the president’s removal power. Nonetheless, the president is charged with ensuring the faithful execution of the laws. This Court has long recognized that the president’s executive power includes the selection of the subordinates needed to assist the president in fulfilling this obligation. Because the Constitution does not impose an express limitation on the president’s power to remove appointed subordinates, the executive removal power is reasonably assumed to be unlimited. Congressional approval of presidential nominees is appropriate, because Congress can gather information and make judgments about nominees’ qualifications. However, the Senate should not have the power to prevent the president from removing an executive officer, because only the president has had the opportunity to learn about the officer’s abilities, job performance, and integrity. Thus, the executive removal power flows from the president’s appointment power and is unrelated to the Senate’s power to give advice and consent. Moreover, the executive removal power facilitates the president’s supervision of executive officers who are charged with exercising their discretion in the national public interest. The president must be able to place complete trust in these officers and must also be able to remove any officers determined not to be worthy of their responsibilities, regardless of whether those officers are acting at a high level or are merely carrying out ministerial aspects of their jobs. In this case, the 1876 congressional act requiring Senate consent for the removal of postmasters is invalid. The president has the exclusive power to remove Myers, an executive officer, without the advice and consent of the Senate. For these reasons, the judgment of the court of claims is affirmed.

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