§ 7.7 Executive Control: Personnel
Decisions - 464
§ 7.7.1 Appointment of Officers - 464
The ultimate control over an agency is through hiring and firing agency personnel,
or at least through having that option available.
Buckley v. Valeo - 464
How are the members of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) chosen?
What is the legal challenge based on, i.e., how is this like Chadha?
What Constitutional provision is at issue?
What does it require?
Who may congress allow to appoint officers other than the president?
Do the Speaker of the House or the president pro tempore of the Senate come
under this language?
What type of agency is FEC?
How does allowing congress to appoint commission members undermine separation
Why did Congress say this was a special case?
Which clause of the constitution does Congress rely on for its power to enact
this commission selection process?
Why does the court reject this?
What agency powers can congress exercise through its own committees?
Why does this matter?
What does FEC do that is forbidden to Congress?
Who must exercise such powers?
Was the selection process for the FEC commissioners constitutional?
Notes and Questions - 467
2 - Morrison v. Olsen - read this, but we will discuss it as part of the full
case discussion at 7.7.2.
3 - Edmond v. US
What commission was at issue?
Did they have the limited jurisdiction of the independent counsel?
What test did Scalia, who was hostile to the Morrision decision, use to determine
if these were inferior officers?
Why was this satisfied in this case?
What does this tell us about nature of the military justice system?
4 - Feytag v. Commissioner
What was at issue in this case?
Did the court allow this?
Did they agree on why?
5 - What defines a mere employee who is not covered by the appointments clause?
6 - States
States are not bound by the US constitution's requirement of separation of
powers and thus, dependent on their state constitution, can allow the governor
and the legislature to share appointments powers
7 - What is the Incompatibility Clause of the US Constitution and what does
The states are split on this.
8 - Qualifications
May congress set the qualifications for an office?
When might this be unconstitutional?
What do you think of the requirement that the president can only select an
appointment from a list submitted by the Speaker of the House and the president
of the senate?
§ 7.7.2 - Removal of Officers - 473
§ 7.7.2a The Rise of the Independent Agency - 473
Humphrey's Executor v. United States - 475
What was the restriction on removing FTC commissioners?
What did the president do that triggered this litigation?
How did the lawsuit arise?
Did the court allow this?
What type of agency does this create?
What is the constitutional provision establishing these agencies?
Why did the court allow status for the FTC?
What functions did the court focus on which were unusual in agencies at that
How could the president fire an FTC commissioner?
Has this been done?
Does this mean that they always stay when the president in unhappy with them?
Notes and Questions - 476
How are independent agencies different from executive agencies?
Should they be subject to the same administrative oversight?
What are the political advantages of an independent agency?
§ 7.7.2b Removal Issues in the Modern Era - 478
Morrison v. Olson - 478
What was the Saturday night massacre?
Why do the liberals really hate Bork?
Why is Morrison v. Olson so politically charged?
What was Clinton's biggest political mistake?
Why did he make that mistake?
Why was Olson sueing and what did he want?
What triggers the appointment of an independent counsel?
Who makes the appointment?
Can the Independent Counsel be removed by someone under the control of the
How did the court modify Myers/Humphrey?
What is the three part test?
What was the key issue in this case?
Does this impermissibly interfere with the president's power to carry out
Why is Olsen the wrong person to challenge the law?
The case would have been much more interesting if the AG had removed the IC
and he was suing to continue in his job.
What does Scalia think of this ruling?
How does he believe this will hurt the executive branch?
What was he worried about as regards the power of the office?
Was he right?
Notes and Questions - 487
What happened to the Independent Counsel?
Is an IC a good idea?
How did Reno solve the problem for Gore?
What is the separation of powers problems in states with independently elected
state wide offices such as the AG?
Is this a good system?
What are conflicts in such states?
How has it played out in MO?
Remember that Congress can and does informally pressure the Executive branch
to fire and reassign personnel.
4 - Mistretta v. US - 1989
What was the challenge?
What was the purpose of the US Sentencing Commission?
What was the result?
Did the court uphold the law?
Is there any right to judicial discretion?
6 - Inferring Tenure
What is the assumption if there is no term of office?
What if it says good cause?
How does this change if there is a term of office?
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