Postmaster in Oregon, was removed from office by President 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."
that his dismissal violated this law, since his dismissal was never
approved by the Senate. He sued for back pay for the unfilled portion of
his four-year term.
The US Supreme Court
ruled 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.
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.
Court therefore found that the Statute was unconstitutional, because it
violated the separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative
In a dissent,
it was argued that since Congress had the ability to abolish
the position of the Postmaster entirely, how can they not have the power
to dismiss the Postmaster?