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Avoiding Advice and Consent: Recess Appointments and Presidential Power

Authors

  • PAMELA C. CORLEY

    Corresponding author
    1. Vanderbilt University
      Pamela C. Corley is assistant professor of political science at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include judicial politics, Supreme Court decision making, constitutional law, and American institutions.
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  • AUTHOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this article was presented at the 2003 annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association. I wish to thank David Nixon, Julie Flowers, the discussants at the Midwest Political Science Association, and the editor and anonymous reviewers at Presidential Studies Quarterly for their helpful comments.

Pamela C. Corley is assistant professor of political science at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include judicial politics, Supreme Court decision making, constitutional law, and American institutions.

Abstract

This research note attempts to determine under what conditions presidents will use the unilateral tool of recess appointments, specifically to independent agencies. Multivariate analysis reveals that, after controlling for the effects of other variables, presidents are more likely to make a recess appointment if they lack partisan support in the Senate and when they have high public approval. Recess appointments are not cost free and, consequently, presidents use this power strategically and sparingly.

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