Comey under fire

Around my neighborhood lately, we've been discussing whether James Comey can be fired as director of the FBI.  I gather this may not be crystal clear, but there's reason to think he can:
The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The statutory basis for the present nomination and confirmation process was developed in 1968 and 1976, and has been used since the death of J. Edgar Hoover in 1972. Over this time, seven nominations have been confirmed and two have been withdrawn by the President before confirmation. The position of FBI Director has a fixed 10-year term, and the officeholder cannot be reappointed, unless Congress acts to allow a second appointment of the incumbent. There are no statutory conditions on the President’s authority to remove the FBI Director. Since 1972, one Director has been removed by the President.
President Clinton fired FBI Director William Sessions, who had been appointed by President Reagan. It seems that the post-J. Edgar Hoover arrangements for a fixed 10-year term were aimed at preventing unreasonably long tenures. Congress must consent, as it did in the case of Director Mueller in 2011, to any extension of a term. There is no equivalent Congressional veto over a presidential firing, nor can Congress get rid of an FBI director other than by impeachment.


MikeD said...

See, it's garbage like this that really pisses me off. The FBI is a subordinate organization to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice is nothing more (Constitutionally) than an part of an advisory panel for the President of the United States. All members of the Cabinet serve at the whim of the President. So how on earth did we get into a situation where a(n un-elected) subordinate organization to the Executive Branch of the United States of America has "tenure" that cannot be revoked by the President?

This is of a piece with the EPA sneaking in a last minute CAFE standard that "cannot be changed by the incoming administration". I'm sorry, the EPA still works for the President, and he would be free (again, Constitutionally) to fire the lot of them and repeal their diktats. Because their very existence (I will repeat myself... Constitutionally) is justified as a subordinate organization to the Cabinet of the President. And frankly, I don't see how this even becomes a discussion.

douglas said...

Yep, or the GOP can repeal or amend the laws upon which CAFE has it's standards based. They just want to further institutionalize government in our lives.