• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court held that the president possessed an inherent power to remove members of the executive branch and that a law requiring senatorial approval was unconstitutional.

In 1920 President Woodrow Wilson fired Frank Myers, a postmaster in Oregon, before his term had expired. In so doing, Wilson ignored a 1916 statute requiring the Senate’s advice and consent before removing postmasters. Myers filed a suit for back pay. The Supreme Court, by a 6-3 margin, denied the claim. In a sweeping opinion for the majority, Chief Justice William H. TaftTaft, William H.;Myers v. United States[Myers v. United States] confirmed the president’s unqualified discretion to remove anyone that he had appointed to the executive branch. Because presidents had the constitutional responsibility to execute the laws faithfully, they must be able to exercise control over subordinates who act under their authority. Taft also argued that the president’s removal power was logically implied by the separation of powers doctrine. Three justices wrote vigorous dissents. Although the Myers precedent was never overturned, the Court in Humphrey’s Executor v. United States[case]Humphrey’s Executor v. United States[Humphreys Executor v. United States] (1935) limited the precedent so that it does not apply to officials with quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial functions within the independent regulatory agencies.Presidential powers;Myers v. United States[Myers v. United States]

Humphrey’s Executor v. United States

Presidential powers

Separation of powers

Wiener v. United States

Categories: History