The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Boston 1775: The Birth of the Recess Appointment

Article Two of the U.S. Constitution includes this clause, proposed by Richard Dobbs Spaight of North Carolina:

The President shall have power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

This language was modeled after a clause in the North Carolina constitution. It wasn’t part of the first draft of the new federal document, but the men of the Constitutional Convention—many of whom probably expected to be Senators—knew they wouldn’t want to spend all their time at the capital just in case an important position should become vacant.


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