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

Robert G. Natelson

The Independence Institute

Date Written: December 19, 2013

Abstract

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

Natelson, Robert G., The Origins and Meaning of 'Vacancies that May Happen During the Recess' in the Constitution's Recess Appointments Clause (December 19, 2013). Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 37, Page 199, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2257801 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2257801

Robert G. Natelson (Contact Author)

The Independence Institute ( email )

727 E. 16th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
United States
303-279-6536 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://constitution.i2i.org

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