Ohio Northern University Law Review


In 1976, Congress passed a bill instituting a ten-year term for the FBI director, ostensibly to provide the head of the nation’s foremost law enforcement agency some measure of independence from political pressure that could improperly influence investigations. This note explores the impact of the tenured term on the president’s power to remove the director at will for a personal reason, a political reason, or no reason at all. Although the Supreme Court has never directly addressed the president’s power with respect to the FBI director, this note concludes that a statutory term alone does not restrict the president’s ability to remove the head of the FBI. Moreover, any attempt by Congress to restrict that power with a forcause removal standard would be an unconstitutional violation of separation of powers principles because of the FBI director’s importance as an executive actor.