Wednesday, February 4, 2015

MBE Fast Fact: The Appointments Clause

The Appointments Clause in the Constitution provides that the President shall nominate and by and with the advice of the Senate shall appoint ambassadors, Supreme Court Justices, and all other officers of the United States. This issue, though not as common on the MBE as many others, has appeared in the past.

It is a violation of this clause if the President, when appointing an ambassador, is required to pick from among names appearing on a congressionally-generated list. Though as per the clause the President's pick is subject to confirmation by the Senate, when picking the ambassador (or other principle federal officer), the President may act alone.

In addition, the rule regarding confirmation by the Senate is specific; namely, the appointment must be affirmatively approved by a vote of the Senate. If questions are presented in which the Senate attempts to avoid its obligation by a claim (for example by means of a statute) that a lack of disapproval of the appointment will be deemed as approval, such action will violate the Appointments clause, and any statute to that effect should be deemed unconstitutional.

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