Reading Room Document
Filling the Vacancy Following the Death of the Secretary of War
The performance of the duties of the Secretary of War by an acting secretary may not extend beyond thirty days from the date of the death of the late Secretary of War, and it will be necessary for a new Secretary of War to be appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Appointments Clause of the Constitution to perform those duties after that date. There is some doubt whether the duties specifically imposed by Congress upon the Secretary of War may be performed by the President, as Commander in Chief of the Army, or by any other person not serving as the Secretary of War. The OLC does not provide release dates for its opinions, so the release date listed is the date on which the opinion was authored. The original opinion is available at www.justice.gov/file/20651/download.
The OLC's Opinions
Opinions published by the OLC, including those released in response to our FOIA lawsuit