What’s going on with the top positions in the Department of Homeland Security?
Latest in Vacancies Reform Act
The firing is almost certainly lawful, but it is unclear whether the president’s chosen replacement can immediately assume the role.
President Trump is stretching the limits of his statutory ability to appoint acting officials to Senate-confirmed roles. What can Congress do?
Can the president appoint whomever he wishes to serve as acting director of national intelligence (DNI) during the period between the resignation of Dan Coats (effective Aug. 15) and Senate confirmation of a successor? The president seems to think so, indicating in a tweet yesterday that “the Acting Director will be named shortly.”
....be leaving office on August 15th. I would like to thank Dan for his great service to our Country. The Acting Director will be named shortly.
The last time I wrote about the Trump administration’s abuse of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA) of 1998, I opened with Yogi Berra’s famous quip that “it’s like déjà vu all over again
To quote Yogi Berra, “it’s like déjà vu all over again.” For at least the fourth time in just over two years, a dispute has arisen over the president’s authority to name “acting” agency heads under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA) of 1998. This time around, the debate involves the Department of Homeland Security—and the resignation/firing/un-resignation/ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Is Whitaker’s appointment constitutional? Does the president have authority in this case to make an appointment under the FVRA? Does Whitaker have any recusal obligations related to the special counsel’s investigation?
One of the obscure federal statutes that has come to prominence in the Trump administration is the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA), a statute designed to increase the president’s flexibility with respect to filling vacancies within the executive branch on a temporary basis.
Lawfare’s readers are well-aware that the political echelons of the Trump administration are woefully understaffed. Ten months into this presidency, the pace of appointments under Trump trails that of his predecessors by three months.
Although Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reportedly expressed no inclination to resign, President Donald Trump’s evident and quite public “disappointment” over Sessions’s (clearly correct) decision to recuse himself from investigations relating to the 2016 presidential campaign raises the prospect of a potential vacancy in the office of the attorney gen