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Law Prof Argues Pay Czar Is Unconstitutional

Publication Date: 
October 30, 2009
ABA Journal
Debra Cassens Weiss

The ABA Journal mentioned Professor Michael McConnell's Wall Street Journal op-ed, "The Pay Czar is Unconstitutional":

Is the appointment of pay czar Kenneth Feinberg constitutional?

Stanford Law School professor Michael McConnell, a former federal appeals judge, thinks not. In a Wall Street Journal opinion column, McConnell argues that Feinberg’s appointment violates the appointments clause requiring Senate approval of all officers of the United States.

Feinberg was appointed to the pay czar position by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner under the law establishing the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The law authorized Geithner to require TARP recipients to meet “appropriate standards” for executive compensation.

“Because he is not a properly appointed officer of the United States, Mr. Feinberg's executive compensation decisions were unconstitutional,” McConnell concludes.

Five other constitutional experts differed with McConnell’s view at a Senate hearing earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times reports.