Government lawyers can be broadly categorized as either political or civil service appointees. The political appointees constitute a thin layer at or near the top of the hierarchy of government lawyers. They include, most prominently, presidential appointees – "Officers of the United States" who must be nominated and confirmed by the Senate prior to their appointment. They also include a variety of lesser lawyers who are exempt from most of the civil service laws. Such exempt "inferior Officers" include, for example, the lawyers in the White House Counsel's office and so-called "Schedule C" lawyers who hold positions "of a confidential or policy-determining nature" scattered throughout the bureaucracy.
The civil service lawyers form the much larger base of the hierarchy below the thin top layer. They shall be referred to here as "tenured lawyers," because, as in the case of tenured academics, they have an expectation of continued government employment unless and until they are terminated for cause following cumbersome due process formalities. These tenure rights, which are created by the civil service laws and regulations, do not confer the right to continue in any particular job or function. Tenured lawyers can be removed from their position if their agency is abolished or is subject to a reduction in force. Generally speaking, however, they cannot be fired, demoted, or have their pay reduced unless they have been proven guilty of some dereliction of duty.
Thomas W. Merrill,
High-Level, "Tenured" Lawyers,
Law & Contemp. Probs.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/358