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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "chairman"

Fed chairman Jerome Powell: If Trump fires me, I’ll ignore him

Westlake Legal Group jp Fed chairman Jerome Powell: If Trump fires me, I’ll ignore him Trump The Blog Maxine Waters Jerome Powell Interest Rates fire Federal Reserve Fed chairman article II

Somehow I missed this yesterday. You’d think it’d be bigger news when the chairman of the Federal Reserve tells Congress that he’ll stay on the job whether the executive likes it or not.

Especially when he’s doing it on TV, in response to a question from Trump nemesis Maxine Waters.

I mean, is this guy *trying* to get fired? He’s waving a red cape before the big orange bull here.

“I have the right to demote him. I have the right to fire him,” Trump said of Powell a few weeks ago, still annoyed that the Fed won’t slash interest rates to further goose the economy. Demotion seems to be the first option on his menu at the moment; Bloomberg reported last month that Trump was exploring stripping Powell of his chairmanship and leaving him as a plain ol’ Fed governor. But let’s say he did want to pull the trap door. Could he fire Powell under the law?

Answer: Depends. The Federal Reserve Act says that each Fed governor gets to serve 14 years “unless sooner removed for cause by the President.” What does “for cause” mean? The courts have never had to address the question but it probably doesn’t mean “because the Fed won’t do what the president wants it to do on monetary policy.” The point of the Act is to give the Fed a modicum of independence from politics. Letting the president fire the chairman “for cause” because, essentially, it’s behaving independently would wreck the whole scheme.

But back up. Is the Federal Reserve Act constitutional — or at least this part of it, purporting to limit the president’s authority to fire its officers? My gut reaction is no. Aside from the special case of federal judges, who operate under Article III and are assured life tenure so that they feel free to rule fairly in all cases, it’s difficult to imagine a rationale for letting an *unelected* policy-making federal officer serve with no accountability to anyone. Of course Powell can be removed summarily — or so it seems to me instinctively. The New-Deal-era Supreme Court decided differently, though, ruling in 1935 that laws limiting the president’s power to remove top personnel at independent agencies like the FTC are constitutional. That’s because independent agencies are quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial, the Court said, whatever the hell that means. But this is what Powell is banking on if Trump drops the axe. He’ll ignore him, go to court, and point to the Humphrey’s Executor case from 1935 as a slam-dunk winner for him. Unless Trump can show “cause,” he loses. Simple as that.

We’ll see, though. Conservative legal thinkers have developed a powerful allergy to the idea of “independent” agencies and agents over the last few decades. There may no single judicial opinion in the past 40 years that’s influenced conservative constitutional thinking as much as Scalia’s dissent in Morrison v. Olson, the “independent counsel” case that featured frequently in constitutional commentary about the Mueller probe. Scalia’s point there was that the president is supreme in his constitutional sphere; as a matter of basic accountability, one can’t have an executive officer who’s so “independent” from the president that he can’t be removed. On top of that, the Roberts Court has been eyeing the sprawl of the administrative state over the last few years and making unhappy noises, with Roberts’s own recent opinion in the census citizenship question case delivering a new blow to agency independence. The conservative majority won’t like the idea of an agency head like the Fed chairman being able to tell the president to piss off if Trump wants to remove him. If Trump and Powell forced them to decide whether Humphrey’s Executor is still good law, which way would they go?

The post Fed chairman Jerome Powell: If Trump fires me, I’ll ignore him appeared first on Hot Air.

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Tom Perez’s “nightmare” in Congress

Westlake Legal Group perez-hands Tom Perez’s “nightmare” in Congress Tom Perez The Blog superdelegates dnc democratic national committee chairman

Tom Perez really, really wanted to be DNC Chairman and he had to consolidate a lot of support to land the job in 2017 while fending off a strong challenge from Keith Ellison. These days, however, I have to wonder if he’s beginning to regret taking the position. As Politico reports this week, Perez is increasingly isolated in his job, receiving very little support or cooperation from congressional Democrats as he struggles to manage the Democratic primary process. Dick Durban reportedly described the situation as “the biggest nightmare [Perez] could probably have imagined.” But it’s not just the messy debate format that has Democrats in Congress ticked off.

Tom Perez isn’t facing blowback only over his management of his party’s unruly presidential primary field. He also has 280 constituents in Congress, some of whom are sounding off publicly.

The Democratic National Committee chairman is the face of presidential debate rules that will allow a meditation guru to take the stage next week while a red state Western governor watches on TV. Against that backdrop, a collection of Democratic lawmakers are still aggravated with Perez after he yielded to the party’s base last year and agreed to dilute their power as superdelegates — a problem Perez is still trying to defuse in private meetings with Democrats.

Perez, complained Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly, has made Democratic members of Congress “second-class citizens in our convention.”

So there are two chief areas of discontent riling up the Democrats. One of them is the way the debates are being handled, but it seems a bit unfair to lay that entirely at Perez’s feet. A lot of people with sufficient name recognition decided to run. What was he supposed to do about that? I suppose he could have either limited the number of candidates at the debates to a lower number or perhaps raised it even higher. There are problems with both, and I suppose twenty is as reasonable of a number as any.

But the other bee under Democratic bonnets is a subject we covered extensively during the last election cycle. Many of their elected officials and party leaders are still angry about the decision to water down the influence of the superdelegates at the convention next year. In the quoted text above, you’ll note that one Democrat from Virginia complained about Perez turning them into “second class citizens.”

That’s pretty rich in terms of the general level of whining going on. If the Democrats had eliminated the superdelegates entirely (as they should have), they would actually have been turned into “citizens.” You know… like the rest of us? Each person getting one vote and all votes counting for the same amount. Any of this ringing a bell, Congressman Connolly?

Each of the delegates at the convention represents a significant number of people who showed up to vote in the primaries and their vote reflects the wishes of all those citizens. When a superdelegate comes along and casts a vote for a different candidate, their one vote wipes out the votes of thousands. During the 2016 primary, every superdelegate voting for Clinton wiped out more than 10,000 votes cast for Sanders.

And the superdelegates still aren’t entirely gone. They’re just being told to wait until after the first round of voting to see if there is a clear choice as to who the nominee will be. If nobody manages to get a majority, then the superdelegates will once again be invited to step in, put their thumbs on the scales and muscle someone through. That doesn’t sound like the position of a “second class citizen” to me. Quite the opposite, in fact.

The post Tom Perez’s “nightmare” in Congress appeared first on Hot Air.

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