How the Cabinet Works

Author's Note

It must be a heady experience, sitting around a conference table with the president and all of his most influential political advisers. Outside of Nixon's surreptitious tape recordings, we don't have transcripts of what goes on during Cabinet meetings. Do they go around in a circle, politely taking turns to share their opinions? Or is it a free-for-all? Do tempers flare up, voices rise and insults fly? We'll probably never know. A funny detail from this video on -- the Cabinet members must surrender their Blackberrys during the meeting. They write their names on Post-it notes, stick the notes to the back of their phones and drop them in a wicker basket before the enter the Cabinet Room. Easily the most entertaining image from the video is that basket and the Post-it on the top of the pile reading "HOLDER" with two underlines. I guess the Attorney General wants his phone back.

Related Articles


  • Hinsdale, Mary Louise. A History of the President's Cabinet. The University of Michigan Historical Studies. 1911 (July 12, 2012.)
  • The White House Museum. "Cabinet Room" (July 12, 2012.)
  • United States Senate. "Powers & Procedures: Nominations" (July 12, 2012.)
  • The White House. "The Cabinet" (July 12, 2012.)
  • The White House. "Christopher Lu" (July 12, 2012)