Can a Man Head the Women's Bureau at the Department of Labor?
May 1, 2003Donald J. Kochan
Can a man become the Director of the Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor? According to Congress, the answer is no. In 1920, as the States were ratifying the Nineteenth Amendment to guarantee nondiscriminatory suffrage, Congress created the Women’s Bureau. Ironically, in establishing the position of its Director, Congress discriminated on the basis of sex—requiring that the Director be “a woman . . . appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”1 Policy concerns regarding equal protection may themselves justify voiding this 80-year old quota; however, this essay raises a more fundamental issue regarding the constitutional separation of powers: whether Congress may, by statute, limit the class of persons the President may nominate under his Appointments Clause power.