Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


David L. Jordan


This note asserts that President Clinton's naming of Bill Lann Lee as Acting Attorney General for Civil Rights, after the Senate's refusal to consent to his appointment, was a violation of the doctrine of separation of powers under Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution. The President was possessed of neither the Constitutional nor statutory authority to make Lee an "Acting" appointment. Without such authority, the President's actions contravene the principles of separation of power set forth in the Supreme Court's seminal holding of Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. This conclusion is consistent with the intent of the drafters of the Constitution, as expressed by them in the Federalist Papers.