While federal law says that the Social Security Commissioner can only be fired for cause, current Supreme Court judgments have actually reinforced Bidens ability to oust independent agency leaders as he likes. Last year, in a case brought during the Trump administration, a conservative bulk of the Supreme Court ruled that Congress mandate that the president just have the ability to fire the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “with cause”– and not “at will”– was unconstitutional. The issue arose after the Obama-appointed CFPB director, Richard Cordray, resigned to run for governor of Ohio, kicking of a complicated legal- and power- battle over the firms leadership.
The dismissal has not come devoid of criticism from principles guard dogs. Walter Shaub, a previous director of the executive branchs Office of Government Ethics and a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight, said that by mentioning the CFPB cases president, the Biden administration had actually “sided with Trump” and the Supreme Courts Republican-appointed justices. “I hope the White House clarifies that the firing was for cause and not a constitutional difficulty to the law needing cause,” he tweeted.
On Friday, Joe Biden fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, a Trump administration appointee who had actually clashed with congressional Democrats and disability rights activists. Originally appointed by Donald Trump in 2018, Sauls term was set to last until 2025.
Under that ruling, Biden was able to change Trumps permanent CFPB director shortly after getting in the Oval Office. Last month, the justices ruled that the president can similarly fire the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency without cause, clearing the way for Biden to rapidly replace the Trump holdover leading that office.
In the wake of Sauls dismissal, the White House told several news outlets that his actions, consisting of a choice to terminate the agencys telework policy and an adversarial position toward unions, “run contrary to the mission of the firm and the Presidents policy program.”
Mitch McConnell, who never ever appeared too upset about Trumps extensive usage of executive authority, rapidly pegged Bidens move “a extraordinary and hazardous politicization of the Social Security Administration.”
The termination has not come without criticism.Historically, heads of independent federal agencies like the Social Security Administration have been spared from being turfed out when new presidents take workplace. Indeed, in an interview with the Washington Post that foreshadows a possible battle over his termination, Saul, a previous college schoolmate of Trumps at the University of Pennsylvania, protected his period and said he still considers himself “the term-protected commissioner of Social Security.” He added that he plans to report to work on Monday.