regulation imposed by the obstruction statutes could possibly intrude too deeply on the President’s freedom to select and supervise the members of his cabinet. The removal of inferior ofﬁcers, in contrast, need not necessarily be at will for the President to fulﬁll his constitutionally assigned role in managing the Executive Branch. “[l]nferior ofﬁcers are ofﬁcers whose work is directed and supervised at some level by other ofﬁcers appointed by the President with the Senate’s consent.” Free Enterprise Fund, 561 US. at 510 (quoting Edmond v. United States, 520 US. 651, 663 (1997)) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Supreme Court has long recognized Congress’s authority to place foo-cause limitations on the President’s removal of “inferior Ofﬁcers” whose appointment may be vested in the head of a department. U.S. CONST. ART. II, § 2, cl. 2. See United States v. Perkins, 116 US. 483, 485 (1886) (“The constitutional authority in Congress to thus vest the appointment [of inferior officers in the heads of departments] implies authority to limit, restrict, and regulate the removal by such laws as Congress may enact in relation to the ofﬁcers so appointed”) (quoting lower court decision); Morrison, 487 US. at 689 n. 27 (citing Perkins); accord id. at 723-724 & n.4 (Scalia, J., dissenting) (recognizing that Perkins is “established” law); see also Free Enterprise Fund, 561 US. at 493» 495 (citing Perkins and Morrison). The category of inferior ofﬁcers includes both the FBI Director and the Special Counsel, each of whom reports to the Attorney General. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 509, 515(a), 531; 28 C.F.R. Part 600. Their work is thus “directed and supervised” by a presidentially- appointed, Senate-conﬁrmed ofﬁcer. See In re: Grand Jury Investigation, m F.3d _, 2019 WL 921692, at *3-*4 (DC. Cir. Feb. 26, 2019) (holding that the Special Counsel is an “inferior ofﬁcer” for constitutional purposes). V Where the Constitution permits Congress to impose a good-cause limitation on the removal of an Executive Branch ofﬁcer, the Constitution should equally permit Congress to bar removal for the corrupt purpose of obstructing justice. Limiting the range of permissible reasons for removal to exclude a “corrupt” purpose imposes a lesser restraint on the President than requiring an afﬁrmative showing of good cause. It follows that for such inferior ofﬁcers, Congress may constitutionally restrict the President’s removal authority if that authority was exercised for the corrupt purpose of obstructingjustice. And even if a particular inferior ofﬁcer’s position might be of such importance to the execution of the laws that the President must have at-will removal authority, the obstruction-of-justice statutes could still be constitutionally applied to forbid removal for a corrupt reason.1088 A narrow and discrete limitation on removal that precluded corrupt action would leave ample room for all other considerations, including disagreement over policy or loss of conﬁdence in the ofﬁcer’s judgment or commitment. A corrupt—purpose prohibition therefore would not undermine the President’s ability to perform his Article 11 functions. Accordingly, because the separation-of-powers question is “whether the removal restrictions are of such a nature that they impede the President’s ability to perform his constitutional duty,” Morrison, 487 U.S. at 691, a restriction on removing an inferior ofﬁcer for a '0“ Although the FBI director is an inferior ofﬁcer, he is appointed by the President and removable by him at will, see 28 U.S.C. § 532 note, and it is not clear that Congress could constitutionally provide the FBI director with good-cause tenure protection. See OLC, Constitutionality of Legislation Extending the Term of the FBI Director, 201 1 WL 2566125, at *3 (O.L.C. June 20, 201 l) (“tenure protection for an ofﬁcer with the FBI Director’s broad investigative, administrative, and policymaking responsibilities would raise a serious constitutional question whether Congress had ‘impede[d] the President’s ability to perform his constitutional duty’ to take care that the laws be faithfully executed”) (quoting Morrison, 487 US. at 691). ' tru-
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