On June 17th, 1789, the first US Congress was gathered to discuss, among other things, the removal from office of politcial appointees. Regarding the idea of allowing the President, solely, to dismiss appointees, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, said this:
"The danger then consists merely in this: the President can displace from office a man whose merits require that he should be continued in it. What will be the motives which the President can feel for such abuse of his power, and the restraints that operate to prevent it? In the first place, he will be impeachable by this House, before the Senate for such an act of maladministration, for I contend that the wanton removal of meritorious officers would subject him to impeachment and removal from his own high trust. But what can be his motives for displacing a worthy man? It must be that he may fill the place with an unworthy creature of his own."
When it was suggested that the Senate alone should be the ones to fire appointees, Madison said it would create a “two-headed beast” and create a source of contention between the legislative and executive branches.It was eventually decided that political appointees should be fired the same way they are hired, with the “advice and consent of the Senate.”
The next time some knucklehead tries to tell you that the attorneys "serve at the pleasure of the President", remind them that just because they serve at the President's pleasure, they do not serve the President, they serve the Constitution, according to their own oath of office.
Then remind them that that the wanton removal of meritorious officers is an impeachable offense!
editor's note See Thom Hartmann's Article covering this theme for a more in-depth perspective.