Legal scholars Seth Barrett Tillman and Josh Blackman have weighed in on the increasingly relevant question of whether Robert Mueller’s appointment as Special Counsel is constitutional. I made my views known when I told the New York Times, “The founders feared exactly what we see in Mueller: a runaway federal official. We hope to see Mueller’s operation disbanded, once and for all.”
In an article titled “Is Robert Mueller an ‘Officer of the United States’ or an ‘Employee of the United States'”? appearing on the Lawfare website, Tillman and Blackman examine a number of arguments and offer some of their own:
Recent debates over the constitutionality of Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel turn on whether he is a principal or inferior “officer of the United States.” Steven Calabresi contends that Mueller is in fact a principal officer, who, as a result, must be nominated by the president, and confirmed by the Senate. George Conway, writing for Lawfare, counters that Mueller is an inferior officer, who may be appointed by the assistant attorney general—the relevant department head—without Senate confirmation. There may be a third option.