The Removal Power and the Federal Deficit: Form, Substance, and Administrative Independence


This Article suggests that the significance of the conflict between Congress and the President over the removal power has been greatly exaggerated. The Constitution is silent on the question of removal. The textual provision dealing with appointments, from which one might reason by analogy, lends support to two contradictory interpretations: first, that removal is an exclusively presidential prerogative, subject perhaps to statutory for-cause requirements; and second, that removal is a function which the chief executive and the Senate share. On practical and historical grounds, however, the former view has prevailed. At the same time, a broad array of checks and balances makes it very costly for the President to dismiss any official. Moreover, Congress retains a sizeable arsenal of weapons by which it may exercise more effective control over official conduct than is realistically afforded by the threat of removal. Thus, the formal power to remove cannot serve as a satisfactory operational definition of the power to control official conduct.


Seperation of Powers

Publication Date


Document Type


Place of Original Publication

Kentucky Law Journal

Publication Information

75 Kentucky Law Journal 699 (1987)

This document is currently not available here.


COinS Jonathan L. Entin Faculty Bio