Volume 88, Number 2

May 2013

Defining Recess Appointments Clause “Vacancies”

Amelia Frenkel

The Recess Appointments Clause gives the President the power to “fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate.” Throughout American history, the Clause has been the subject of intense constitutional focus, as well as political jockeying between the legislative and executive branches. The recess appointment of Richard Cordray as the first Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in January 2012 brought new attention to the issue, raising novel constitutional questions about the propriety of modern uses of the recess appointment power. This Note addresses the question of whether the President is constitutionally empowered to make recess appointments to newly created offices and concludes that he is not.