I have discovered a wonderful new site, Garden Ridge, and I found this brilliant piece of actual FACT there this morning:
". . .That said, one contribution I believe I can make to this discussion is to remark that this whole "scandal" reminds me of the circumstances surrounding a previous Washington scandal: the impeachment of Andrew Johnson in 1868. The specific circumstance being the Tenure of Office Act of 1867.
The successor to the since-sainted Abraham Lincoln, Johnson was politically unpopular, and with good reason-- he was an awful President, and a racist whose policies hastened the collapse of Reconstruction and a hundred succeeding years of Jim Crow. The Radical Republicans who favored pro-black, anti-Confederate policies had every reason to contest the Democrat Johnson's actions, and one of their tactics was to pass-- over Johnson's veto-- the Tenure of Office Act.
The Act, simply stated, gave the U.S. Senate the power to approve not only the appointment of political members of the administration as per the Constitution, but also *the removal* of political appointees. Thus, the President could no longer fire anyone who received a Senate confirmation without also receiving Senate approval for his actions.
This wasn't done for reasons of constitutional interest-- it was done for the very specific purpose of protecting a number of former Lincoln Administration officials serving in the Johnson White House, especially Secretary of War (and Radical Republican) Edward Stanton. When Johnson attempted to remove Stanton without Senate approval-- thus violating the Act-- Congress struck, impeaching the President, and nearly removing him from office.
Ultimately, the Act would be repealed (in 1887). A similar law dealing with lesser officials (i.e. sub-Cabinet appointees) was ruled unconstitutional in 1926 in Myers vs. United States."