Wiener v. United States


Through the War Claims Act, Congress created the War Claims Commission.  This Commission was established to allocate compensation for POWs and claims for other military violations.  Wiener was appointed to the Commission in 1950 but was later asked to resign by President Truman, which he refused to do.  Later, President Eisenhower appointed a replacement or temporary person to fill Wiener’s position, which essentially resulted in his loss of pay and effective termination.  One year later the Commission was abolished.


Whether the President has the sole power to remove appointee who are both appointed by him and approved by the Senate.


No, the President cannot remove appointees confirmed by the Senate at will.  The court looked to the Act and found the intent behind the Commission’s creation was to form an apolitical body that could remain outside the influence of politics – both the influence of politics inside the executive and within the legislature.  Granting the President sole dismissal power subjects the appointees to political pressures of the Executive.  Moreover, granting the President exclusive authority to remove appointees would render the Senate confirmation process meaningless, since the President could just remove any appointee he did not prefer.  Although the constitution is silent on the issue of dismissal, it is not silent on the issue of separation of powers.  Where the President can excuse appointees for political considerations and the position is created for the purpose of apolitical administration, an unconstitutional power imbalance exists.

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