(CN) – The D.C. Circuit upheld President Barack Obama’s decision in 2009 to fire a man appointed two years earlier as inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Services by then President George Bush.
Gerald Walpin had argued that the president failed to give Congress the required 30 days notice of his intent to find a new inspector general.
When Walpin refused an “ultimatum” from Obama’s special counsel, Norman Eisen, to resign or be fired, Obama sent letters to the vice president, as Senate president, and to the House speaker, advising them that he had lost confidence in Walpin.
The ruling also cites letters that Eisen sent senators who were concerned about Walpin’s termination. Eisen apparently revealed that Walpin had appeared “confused, disoriented, [and] unable to answer questions” at a May 20, 2009, board meeting of the Corporation for National and Community Services, and had become “unduly disruptive to agency operations.”
The court’s three-judge panel found that Walpin does not have a valid claim because he was placed on paid administrative leave for more than 30 days after Obama sent letters to Congress. The judges added that Obama’s letters constituted sufficient reason for removal.
“The Congress intended that the thirty-day notice requirement provide an opportunity for a more expansive discussion of the president’s reasons for removing an inspector general,” Judge Karen Henderson wrote for the court. “And this is precisely what occurred here.”