Are the directions to set up a Presidential Cabinet in the U.S. Constitution?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The answer to this is “yes and no.”  The Constitution does hint at the possibility of a Cabinet, but it certainly does not explicitly require one.  There are no clear “directions to set up” a Cabinet.

The term “cabinet” is never used in the Constitution.  The main reference that allows for the creation of a Cabinet comes in Article II, Section 2.  In that section, the document says that the president “may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.”  This makes it clear that there will be executive departments and that they will each have a principal officer.  It makes it clear that the president may consult with those officers and require them to give him (or someday her) answers.  This implies that a Cabinet would be possible.

However, there are no clear directions.  The Constitution does not require the president to set up a cabinet.  It does not require the president to consult with any principal officers.  It does not say which principal officers would be part of a Cabinet.  In short, there are no actual directions for setting up a cabinet in the Constitution even though the language of the document implies that the president could do so.