Myers v. United States
272 U.S. 52 (1926)

  • Myers, a 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.”
    • Myers argued 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.
    • 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.
    • The Court therefore found that the Statute was unconstitutional, because it violated the separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative Branches.
    • 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?