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The counsel or group of advisers of a king or other chief executive of a government. A group of individuals who advise the president of the United States.

The president's cabinet was created by custom and tradition and was instituted by the first president. The heads of each of the executive departments of the government, including the Secretary of State, the secretary of the treasury, the secretary of defense, the attorney general, the secretary of the interior, the secretary of agriculture, the secretary of commerce, the secretary of labor, the secretary of health and human services, the secretary of education, the secretary of housing and urban development, and the secretary of transportation, comprise the cabinet.


Executive Branch.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


in the constitutional law of the UK, as a result of various conventions, the executive part of the British government. Beginning as a group of special advisers to the crown, the lack of interest shown by monarchs in the 18th century meant that the Crown took little part in their deliberations. Parliament was concerned about this practice, and as early as the Act of Settlement of 1700 had tried to restrain the practice. Nonetheless, the Reform Act of 1832, extending the franchise, meant that the support of the House of Commons was ever more important. Accordingly, whoever had support there could have the direct link to the Crown, which was the essence of the Cabinet. The acceptance of the limited role of monarchy and the increase in representation have increased the status of the Cabinet so that it is now effectively the executive branch of government answerable to Parliament and requiring to legislate through Parliament with the Crown but in practical day-to-day matters being able to carry through all business subject to the duty of doing so in accordance with the policy of Parliament. It is entirely distinct from the Privy Council, whose meetings take precedence, but naturally many of the same individuals sit on both. Members of the Cabinet are usually ministers and are appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. There are usually about 20 members, and the existence of the Cabinet, although a matter of convention, has been noticed in legislation and judicial decision. It has a secretariat, and in modern times it keeps records, including minutes. Members subscribe to a doctrine of collective responsibility under which dissension in Cabinet is silenced after a decision, and all abide and promote that course. The Cabinet is responsible as a whole to Parliament under this doctrine.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

CABINET. Certain officers who taken collectively make a board; as, the president's, cabinet, which is usually composed of the secretary of state, secretary of the treasury, the attorney general, and some others.
     2. These officers are the advisers of the president.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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