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Executive Powers: Appointment, Removal, And Pardon

A. Removal Power

1. Removal Power Generally
The President has unfettered, exclusive power to remove his appointees without approval from the legislature. This includes both high-ranking officials who act as his “alter ego” and executive officers engaged in other normal duties. Such absolute removal power is a necessary outgrowth of Article II’s grant to the President of general administrative control of those who execute the law.

2. Limitations
The President’s absolute power of removal over government officials is restricted to those whose positions are units of, and subordinate to, the executive department. This removal power does not extend to officials in quasi-legislative or quasi-judicial agencies, such as administrative bodies created by Congress to carry out a statute’s legislative policies. Congress alone holds control over these agencies. This control includes the power to fix terms of office and conditions for removal.

B. The Power to Pardon

The President has unlimited pardoning power that may be exercised at any time before, during, or after legal proceedings. The power includes the authority to grant relief from criminal contempt penalties. A pardon is valid even if the one pardoned has not been indicted or convicted.

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