I was an intern with the City Attorney of Ketchikan when Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox. At the daily morning coffee of the Ketchikan Bar Association in the Fireside Lounge, the mood was somber. We were in the midst of a constitutional crisis.
I was a third year law student at the time, so I didn’t say anything to my elders. But I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. What provision of the Constitution was under attack?
After I became an honest to God lawyer I figured out what all the fuss was about. Nixon had told the Department of Justice to do what he wanted them to do. But the Attorney General of the United States was the highest ranking member of the legal priesthood, and therefor knew the law better than the President. He had legal training and experience, after all. How could the President tell him what to do?
For those who are not members of the priesthood, the answer is clear, and is contained in the first sentence of Section 1 of Article II of the Constitution.