Listen: Supreme Court, National Constitution Center, Congress discussed on We The People
"I'm Jeffrey Rosen presidency. Yo the national constitution center. And welcome to we the people a weekly show of constitutional debate. The national constitution center is a nonpartisan nonprofit chartered by congress to increase awareness and understanding of the constitution among the American people after the twenty eight team midterm elections. Democrats took control of the house of representatives and divided government has reemerged in Washington that may bring a host of constitutional issues, including is the acting attorney general's appointments consistent with the constitution with federal statutes, if congress thanks it, isn't what can I do about it? What if congress tries to subpoena, the attorney general or the special counsel? And what is the supreme court said about Congress's investigatory powers about Congress's power to oversee the executive Rach joining us to discuss these pressing customer questions too. America's leading constitutional scholars and historians. Stephen Vladeck is eight Dalton cross professor of law university of Texas school of law. He's co editor in chief of just security senior contributor to law. Fair. Co host of the national security law podcast miss CNN legal analyst, he co wrote the constitution centers. Interactive constitution explainers on the constitution on the commander in chief clause of article two and the declare war clause of article one with Michael Ramsey, and those might be good places to start your homework. Steve thank you so much for joining x jeopardy with and Gregory Weiner is a political scientist and associated professor of political science at assumption college. He is author of the spectacular book Madison's metronome, the constitution majority rule in the tempo of American politics. Dear we the people listeners, I want you to read Greg's book because it changed the way I thought and understood Madison's understanding of the need for slow reason majority rule over time, I knew you will learn as much from it. As I did Gregory is going to join us at the constitution center soon for our Madison commissions expiration of what Madison would think of American democracy today? Greg. I can't wait to meet you in person and welcomed, the we the people podcast. Thank you so much looking forward to it as well. Great. Okay. Let's jump right in with the appointment of the assistant attorney general, Steve you wrote a piece in the New York Times recently of the headline was Whitaker, maybe a bad choice, but he's a legal one. And you were responding to arguments that the appointment may have violated the appointments clause of article two, and you noted among other things in eighteen ninety eight decision. United States person eaten in which the supreme court rejected. The argument that only a principal officer confirmed by the Senate contemporary fill the shoes of another principal officer walk us back. Tell us what. Article two says why the case said that you don't need Senate confirmation to serve as acting attorney gen. Title. And while you believe the constitutional arguments against Whitaker's appointment or not convincing. Sure. I mean, so article two's appointments clause. Creates a distinction that the supreme court has basically relied upon for the better part of a century now between three categories of people who work in the executive branch at the bottom. You just have ordinary employees, and the competition has very little to say about how their chosen how they're supervised how they're fired and the apartments Austin, which is between what we now. Call principal officers. So think about like attorney general other cabinet heads has of independent agencies and inferior officers and the rules are different. With regard to how those individuals are both appointed and how they can be supervised removed of ever since chief Justice taps opinion for the supreme court admires versus netted states nine thousand twenty six. The supreme court has taken the position that if you're a principal officer, you can only be chosen by presidential nomination. And Senate confirmation, and you must serve at the pleasure of the president. So the argument is that because the attorney general is a principal officer someone who temporarily exercises the functions of the attorney general must also be a principal officer also therefore have been Senate confirmed the as as you mentioned, Jeff the supreme court in the one case where it's really even considered a similar question to eaten case from."