Who Does the President Appoint?

The President of the United States appoints a wide range of federal officers, including justices of the United States Supreme court, members of the Presidential Cabinet, federal judges, ambassadors to foreign countries and the heads of various federal agencies. Many of these positions require that Congress confirm the appointment.

The basis of the President's power to appoint certain officials comes from Article II of the United States Constitution. A clause in this section gives the President the right to nominate individuals to certain offices with the "advice and consent of the Senate." Although the Senate has the right to reject any presidential nominee, in practice, it confirms most of them.

One area of controversy involving presidential appointments is the "recess appointment." The Constitution gives the President the right to appoint federal officers during the time Congress is in recess. The term of the appointee expires at the end of the next Congressional session. Some opponents of recess appointments contend that the language in the Constitution means that the President can only use this power during the official recess between sessions of Congress. Supporters of the recess appointment power say that the President can use this power whenever Congress take any lengthy break.