Removal of Members of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Headnotes: 

Congress did not intend to limit the President’s power to remove members of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation without cause prior to the expiration of their terms of office. While certain of the Council’s structural attributes and substantive functions suggest that Congress intended to vest the Council with a measure of day-to-day independence from other federal agencies, this does not mean that it intended the Council to operate free of the supervision and control of the President himself through his exercise of the removal power.

The primary functions of the Council are executive in nature, and thus not such as would permit Congress constitutionally to insulate its members from the President’s removal power; it will therefore not be inferred from Congress’ silence on the matter that it intended to do so.

A legislative scheme in which disputes between executive agencies are to be settled in federal or state court would raise a number of serious constitutional problems, under both Article II and Article III, and such an intent on Congress’ part will not be assumed absent the most compelling and unambiguous language.

Updated July 9, 2014