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A Kavanaugh SCOTUS Could Expand Trump’s Power to Fire Civil Servants

by Countable | Updated on 8.7.18

What’s the story?

  • If judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, President Donald Trump may gain the power to hire and fire civil servants at will.
  • Kavanaugh, Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Trump all believe in an expansive view of presidential power.

Unitary Executive

  • As NPR explained, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh “have long believed that presidential powers have been unconstitutionally weakened over most of the last century.”
  • The two subscribe to the idea of “Unitary Executive,” which says a POTUS has the right to function as a kind of CEO of the executive branch, firing – for whatever reason – the heads of various executive agencies.

What are both sides saying?

  • University of Texas law professor Steven Vladeck explained to NPR that quasi-independent agencies - like the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission – are able to do their jobs because they’re “not subject to the moment-to-moment political whims of the White House.”
"If that changes, I think we'd see a huge shift in how the federal government does its job," Vladeck said, "and more perniciously, we'd see a further politicization of just about every decision that the federal government is making."
  • Kavanaugh, however, has “definitely highlighted the problems inherent in taking administrative power and disconnecting it, at least in part, from the president's oversight," said Adam White of the conservative Hoover Institution. NPR added that Kavanaugh has “clearly suggested that a president ought to be able to fire anyone performing executive functions, based solely on policy differences.”

What do you think?

Do you subscribe to the “Unitary Executive” theory? What questions do you want your senators asking Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing? Hit Take Action and let them know, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman


(Photo Credit: Social News Daily / Creative Commons)

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(93)
  • Laura
    08/07/2018
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    This president has no idea what public service is, or what public servants do in order to make the government run smoothly. Our founding fathers created the fundamental responsibilities for each branch of the government. This sort of president is the reason these branches are separated. We do not need a SCOTUS that will allow this to occur, we no longer need a resistance, we need to uprise and revolt over the tyrannical atrocity that this administration has created. Our democracy and federalism is at stake. I will hold all of my representatives responsible if they let our democracy fall.

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  • Lelandwdouglas
    08/07/2018
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    I oppose allowing traitors to have any power in the government.

    Like (27)
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  • TrulyTexan
    08/07/2018
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    There will be no legitimate SCOTUS appointments until Merrick Garland is seated. Trump is an illegitimate president and his stain on this country will need to be scrubbed clean before we can again call ourselves a democracy. He was put in place by a small minority of the country and has no place in the White House.

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  • SirRobert
    08/07/2018
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    No appointments until AFTER midterms!

    Like (18)
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  • Abbi
    08/07/2018
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    Kavanaugh must not be allowed to become SCOTUS. The president is under criminal investigation and may not be president much longer. Furthermore he got a judge to step down before the midterm elections. Which is pretty shady when you remember that trump has financial ties to his son.

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  • John
    08/07/2018
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    Kavanaugh is the perfect 45 Supreme Court nominee : a pathetic opportunist and bootlicker for a Fascist wanna-be dictator. Do not let this man on the Supreme Court. In fact, no nominees until Garland has his hearings and vote.

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  • Kaycek1
    08/07/2018
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    If the President is able to do this, politics then plays a role in every aspect of government, i.e., like a k8ng or queen of a country. Our founding fathers did NOT want the President to have the right to control every aspect of government and this country. They knew what they were doing. This should not be allowed to happen.

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  • John.Nutt
    08/07/2018
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    Hahahahha you guys need to let the Merrick Garland dream go. Trump will never appoint him. So he will probably never be seated. By the time trumps presidency is over he will be too old. But you can keep dreaming!

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  • Marcus
    08/07/2018
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    This is the last thing we need! There must be a check and balance with power! Do not confirm!

    Like (9)
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  • Joanne
    08/07/2018
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    I can’t be the only one who got a very sick feeling when reading this. Is America a Democracy or a Dictatorship? What has happened to America? What is this administration waiting for? “For the People, By the People” it’s time we take OUR country back. “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” - Winston Churchill

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  • Patricia
    08/07/2018
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    This nation does not need either Kavanaugh or tRump. Team them together and we will be the third world nation that they want.

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  • James
    08/07/2018
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    There a lot of lazy civil servants out there! Every time I have to deal with local, state or especially Federal workers it’s nothing but snags! I go to my job I have to perform! Not sit on my cellphone! Not cry about other people I work with because we fix the problem and get on! We have reviews every six months and ongoing reaction with our supervisors! They as they are union workers tend to be very lazy as they feel that they can be protected from anything that they screw up! This must be addressed! The only Federal entity that has control over their employees is the Military as they have the SCMJ that governs them and it is strict! But civilian employees and there are good ones but still a lot of lazy junk that needs to be weeded out! The taxpayer, That’s Me cannot afford this! If you are an investor in a corporation and own stock in that corporation you would want answers too! Well! I’m a taxpayer and am invested in our government and I demand that the bad apples be weeded out! Understand?

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  • Frank
    08/07/2018
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    Do not vote for this asshole

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  • Chips
    08/07/2018
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    When Mueller shows that Trump is bought and paid for, and the election was rigged in his favor, any people appointed by him should be invalid as it is fruit of the poisonous tree

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  • JSHarry
    08/07/2018
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    Fear monger much? Wow! Kavanaugh is a shoe in to get through and this is a desperate scare tactic to try and rally radical leftist support against a very highly qualified judge.

    Like (6)
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  • Glowurm
    08/08/2018
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    Kavanaugh MUST NOT be appointed to the Supreme Court or any other Court for that matter. A justice who questions and seeks to make dramatic changes to our laws and Constitution should NOT be allowed on ANY Court in the United States of America. Case closed!

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  • Lynette
    08/07/2018
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    No Kavanaugh. He will destroy workers rights, end unions, take away civil rights and rule that the President is above the law and can commit crimes that any other person would be punished for except him. Kavanaugh has already admitted that Nixon shouldnt have been impeached. We dont need a dictatorship. We do need term limits on US Supreme Court to change with the times. It now is not about justice or the constitution - it is now about political Party and the control a minority has over the majority. We the people are fed up!!!

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  • Vanessa
    08/07/2018
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    As well any president should be able to fire civil servants at will. Look what happened with job security at the Veteran’s Administration: veterans died because of the shoddy work ethic at the VA! Taxpayers should NOT have to foot the bill for lousy, delinquent even, workers. Any employee, no matter the status, should be fired for just cause, James Comey included!

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  • Phillip
    08/07/2018
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    If that’s the case it’s just another chink in democracies armor being chipped away. Unless the senate and congress want to give up the concept of this USA then they need to reject him. Far better would be to offer an olive branch and put merrick garland through. He’s middle of the road. Both sides stand to win and it might signal a willingness to work for all Americans and not the vocal minority.

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  • Surender
    08/08/2018
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    What a bunch of hypocrites sycophants the gop has exposed its true shallowness and depraved thinking / actions. Moron supporters apparently are incapable of fully utilizing their faculties so really nothing you can do except shoot themselves in the foot as they will be the first and most impacted by their ‘dear leader’!

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