The First Federal Congress Project
Documentary History of the First Federal Congress

Notes of William Paterson
Debate on the Foreign Affairs Act [HR-8] Can the president remove federal officeholders?

 [14 July 1789]  
Maclay. Impeachments confined to the removal from office— no other way of excluding from office— hold their offices during good behaviour— a president should not turn out at his pleasure; it is a stigma; no man of abilities will submit to it. The constitution contemplated offices to be held during good behaviour, & to be turned out by impeachment only  If at pleasure, it creates servility— which will lead to despotism—
It strikes at the very power of the senate— chief clerk. Moves to strike out the whole Clause— not seconded.
[Langdon]
Moved, that the words, by the president of the U.S., be struck out, it was seconded.
Elsworth.
3 powers— legislative, judicial, and executive— distinct— should be placed in different hands. To turn a man out of office is neither legislative or judiciary power—
The executive, without any Thing more, has a right to make appointments— Certain restrictions in certain Cases— The president eventually appoints—
The restriction is as to the appointment and not as to the removal—
Impeachment.
If no term annexed, every appointment is at will—
The president is the responsible person— responsibility rests in one— his reputation his honor at stake—
If presid. impeaches and does not succeed, there will be a variance— he may have evidence in his own bosom—
If you strike it out, the implication. will be, that the president has not the right. It will create a Doubt instead of removing one—
Butler.
It takes away the Power from the senate—
The Senate has a certain Portion of the executive—
The Officer if good will check the President and do Nothing but what he ought to do—
Why not a check upon the legislature itself—
The judiciary is to determine the question— how get it there—
President cannot apoint without the senate—
The Senate a Check upon the President
Izard.
the power of appointment implies that of removal—
Can the President alone abrogate a treaty—
The King of England is part of the Legislature— he is the executive— Part of the executive vested in the Senate. The Senate to protect the officer, if he behaves well— responsible— when— to whom— how— if he removes, you cannot impeach him— So as to the Senate—
A great Officer of State is not to do an unconstitutional. Act; if he does, tho' at the Command of the President, he will be liable to Impeachment—
The President will have a privy Council of some kind or other— Shall it be the Senate or others of his own choosing—
The Heads of Departmts.— only as to their Departmts. besides, they are dependant.
Strong.
Senate has no active power; the moving principle
Johnson.
The Judiciary should decide—
No Distribn. of Powers in the Constn. as to Offices— Must not be construed as a Deed— All sub Modo1— Officers— at whose will— as much at the Will of the Senate as that of the President— two wills necessary to appoint, so to remove— This is a Principle; he who appoints, be must displace—
Lee—
It is only by inference in the Presidts.— what is meant by executive Power— In England, the executive possesses absolute Perfection— it is not the executive power of England, France, Holland, & c.
It refers to the Powers enumerated in the Constn.—
When the legislative Powers are mentioned, it is said all the legislative Powers herein granted— So it must be as to executive—
Perhaps removeable only by Impeachment.
The Ground of holding at Will is too precarious—
The Judges shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour— the Implication. that others should not—
The President if vicious may have a private Council to direct him—
The chief clerk—
Responsibility in the President is a mere Chimaera— can you bring him to justice—
President should have a public Council, who should sign the Advice they give, and then would be responsible.
Should lose Sight of bringing such a Person as the President to Punishmt.—
Let the President suspend pro Temp. till the Senate meets—
    1. Subject to restriction.

Recommended citation: Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, ed. Charlene Bickford, et al. (Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 2002). XML version based on the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, ed. Charlene Bickford, et al. (Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1988) Vol. 9, pp. 104-117; 134-135; 445-449; 465-467; 483-489. http://adh.sc.edu [Accessed (supply date here)]

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