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WALLACE V. UNITED STATES, 257 U. S. 541 (1922)

U.S. Supreme Court

Wallace v. United States, 257 U.S. 541 (1922)

Wallace v. United States

No. 118

Argued January 27, 1922

Decided February 27, 1922

257 U.S. 541


1. The limitation sought to be imposed upon the President's power to remove an Army officer (118th Article of War, 39 Stat. 669; Rev.Stats., §§ 1342, 1230) do not apply when the removal is effected

Page 257 U. S. 542

by the President with the consent of the Senate through the appointment of another to his place. P. 257 U. S. 544.

2. The Court notices judicially that nomination to office are usually referred to a committee of the Senate -- in this case, the Military Committee -- for investigation and report, and the duty of the committee to inquire into the existence of a vacancy to which the appointment can be made. P. 257 U. S. 546.

3. Where the President undertook to remove an army officer and nominated another to take his place as of the day following the removal, without mentioning the removal, held that the Senate, which confirmed the nomination, must be presumed to have known the confirmation would fill the legal complement of such officers, and to have joined in the removal. P. 257 U. S. 545.

4. To allow pay for an officer whose place has been filled by nomination and confirmation, there must be special legislative authority. P. 257 U. S. 546.

5. Quaere whether claimant lost his right to apply for a court-martial under Rev.Stats. § 1230 by waiting five months after his removal by the President? P. 257 U. S. 547.

55 Ct. Clms. 396 affirmed.

Claiming to be a Colonel in the Quartermaster Corps of the United States Army, the appellant sued in the Court of Claims to recover $6,580.67 salary and commutation of quarters from February 13, 1918, until March 12, 1919. His petition was dismissed. The President, on the recommendation of the Secretary of War, issued an order dismissing the appellant from the service by General Orders No. 17, of February 13, 1918, of which he was notified on the same day. The United States was then at war with Germany. On March 1, 1918, the President sent to the Senate the following nominations:

"I nominate the officers herein named for promotion in the Army of the United States."


"To be Colonels"

"Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. Smith, Quartermaster Corps, with rank from February 14, 1918. "

Page 257 U. S. 543

"Lieutenant Colonel Richmond McA. Scofield, Quartermaster Corps, with rank from February 23rd, 1918."

"To be Lieutenant Colonels"

"Major Morton J. Henry, Quartermaster Corps, with rank from February 14th, 1918."

"Major William Elliott, Quartermaster Corps, with rank from February 23, 1918."

These officers were confirmed March 8, 1918. This filled the complement of 21 officers allowed by law in the grade of Colonel in the Quartermaster Corps.

On July 16th, appellant made a formal application in writing for trial by court-martial, setting forth under oath that he had been wrongfully dismissed. On September 14, 1918, the trial was refused by the Secretary, and no court-martial was convened.

Prior to June 24, 1918, plaintiff did not have knowledge of § 1230, Revised Statutes. He had been advised after his dismissal that he could seek relief through Congress.

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