Presidential Appointments and the Senate

October 23, 1928

Report Outline
The Senate and Cabinet Appointments
Appointments to Federal Commissions
Legal Status of Recess Appointments
Senate Rules on Executive Sessions

A large number of recess appointments given by President Coolidge since the adjournment of the first session of the present Congress, including two cabinet appointments and appointments to five of. the most important federal commissions, will be before the Senate for consideration when the Seventieth Congress meets for its short session December 4, 1928. The two cabinet appointments are those of William F. Whiting to be Secretary of Commerce, succeeding Herbert Hoover, resigned, and Roy O. West to be Secretary of the Interior, succeeding Hubert Work, resigned. All recess appointees are at present performing the duties of the offices to which they have been appointed.

Senators from western states gave notice soon after the appointment of Mr. West in July to be Secretary of the Interior that this appointment would be vigorously contested, and it is not unlikely that controversies over the personnel of the major regulatory commissions - controversies which have broken out at every session during the last five years - will be renewed during the coming session. Few of the commission appointments made during recent years have escaped criticism. While most of the President's appointments to commissions have ultimately been confirmed, two important appointments - those of Cyrus E. Woods and John J. Esch to be members of the Interstate Commerce Commission - were rejected by the Senate.

The attempt to prevent Senate approval of the West appointment may lead to a contest between the Senate and the President similar to that which arose in 1925 when the nomination of Charles Beecher Warren to be Attorney General of the United States was rejected. Senate action in the coming session will probably be influenced to some extent by the fact that, even if not confirmed by the Senate, the President's appointees can nevertheless continue to hold their offices until the end of the session, March 3, 1929, when the present administration will come to an end.

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