The Origins and Meaning of 'Vacancies that May Happen During the Recess' in the Constitution's Recess Appointments Clause
41 Pages Posted: 1 May 2013 Last revised: 24 Feb 2017
Date Written: December 19, 2013
There has been longstanding uncertainty about the meaning of “the Recess” and “Vacancies that may happen” in the Constitution’s Recess Appointments Clause. This Article finds that both “the Recess” and close variants of “Vacancies that may happen” were standard terms in Founding-Era legislative practice, and appear copiously in legislative records. Those records inform us that “the Recess” means only the inter-session recess and that a vacancy “happens” only when it first arises.
Keywords: recess appointments, recess appointments clause, Constitution, presidential appointments, original meaning, original understanding, original intent, originalism
JEL Classification: K1, K10, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation