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Encyclopedia > Myers v. United States

Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926), was a United States Supreme Court decision ruling that the President has the exclusive power to remove executive branch officials, and does not need the approval of the Senate or any other legislative body. 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Supreme Court of the United States is the supreme court in the United States. ... The President of the United States (fully, President of the United States of America; unofficially abbreviated POTUS) is the head of state of the United States and the chief executive of the federal government. ... Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the executive is the branch of a government charged with implementing, or executing, the law. ... Seal of the Senate The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the Congress of the United States, the other being the House of Representatives. ...

In 1920, Frank S. Myers, a First-Class Postmaster in Portland, Oregon, was removed from office by President Woodrow Wilson. An 1876 federal law provided that "Postmasters of the first, second, and third classes shall be appointed and may be removed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate." Myers argued that his dismissal violated this law, and he was entitled to back pay for the unfilled portion of his four-year term. 1920 (MCMXX) is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar) // Events January January 7 - Forces of Russian White admiral Kolchak surrender in Krasnoyarsk. ... If you are looking for different meanings of this word, see Postmaster (disambiguation) A postmaster is a term used in post offices to denote the head or master of the office. ... Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856 – February 3, 1924) was the 28th President of the United States (1913–1921). ... 1876 is a leap year starting on Saturday. ...

Chief Justice William Howard Taft, writing for the Court, noted that the Constitution does mention the appointment of officials, but is silent on their dismissal. An examination of the notes of the Constitutional Convention, however, showed that this silence was intentional: the Convention did discuss the dismissal of executive-branch staff, and believed it was implicit in the Constitution that the President did hold the exclusive power to remove his staff, whose existence was an extension of the President's own authority. In many countries, especially common law countries such as Canada and the United States the Chief Justice is the name for the presiding officer on a senior court such as the United States Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Supreme Court of New Zealand, the Supreme Court of... William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930) was an American politician, the 27th President of the United States, and the 10th Chief Justice of the United States. ...

The Court therefore found that the statute was unconstitutional, for it violated the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.


In a lengthy dissent, Justice McReynolds used an equally exhaustive analysis of quotes from members of the Constitutional Convention, writing that he found no language in the Constitution or in the notes from the Convention intended to grant the President the "illimitable power" to fire every appointed official, "as caprice may suggest", in the entire government with the exception of judges. Justice McReynolds, c. ...

In a separate dissent, Justice Brandeis wrote that the fundamental case deciding the power of the Supreme Court, Marbury v. Madison, "assumed, as the basis of decision, that the President, acting alone, is powerless to remove an inferior civil officer appointed for a fixed term with the consent of the Senate; and that case was long regarded as so deciding." Louis D. Brandeis Louis Dembitz Brandeis (November 13, 1856 – October 3, 1941) was an important American litigator, Justice, advocate of privacy, and developer of the Brandeis Brief. ... Holding Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 is unconstitutional to the extent it purports to enlarge the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court beyond that permitted by the Constitution. ...

In a third dissent, Justice Holmes noted that it was within the power of Congress to abolish the position of Postmaster entirely, not to mention to set the position's pay and duties, and he had no problem believing Congress also ought to be able to set terms of the position's occupiers. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. ...

External links

  • Full text of the decision courtesy of Findlaw.com

  Results from FactBites:
Myers v. United States (14973 words)
United States, 100 U.S. It is not claimed by the appellant that the Senate has the constitutional right to share in the responsibility for the removal merely because it shared, under the Act of Congress, in the responsibility for the appointment.
United States, 100 U.S. On the other hand, to the individual in the public service, and to the maintenance of its morale, the existence of a power in Congress to impose upon the Senate the duty to share in the responsibility for a removal is of paramount importance.
United States, 103 U.S. 227, 237, this provision was interpreted as not denying "the power of the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to displace them by the appointment of others in their places." The Act of June 4, 1920, c.
  More results at FactBites »



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