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In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Lucius Malfoy showed Dumbledore and Fudge an order for the suspension of Dumbledore. Clearly, Fudge did not want this to happen.

‘Oh, now, see here, Lucius,’ said Fudge, looking alarmed, ‘Dumbledore suspended ... no, no ... last thing we want just now ...’
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, chapter 14: "Cornelius Fudge"

Cornelius was the Minister for Magic! Surely he could do something about it.

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    I do believe Fudge was already compromised and under the sway of Dumbledore's opponents. He wasn't up to the task which is why the Ministry of Magic was usurped by evil. – Major Stackings Jan 24 '15 at 3:21
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Could Fudge do something about it? Yes, possibly, with a great deal of effort, as @Jeff's answer discusses.

Would he? Heck no! Why in the world? He's firmly in Malfoy's left pocket, as we find out in later books:

... Harry could not believe that Lucius Malfoy dared look him in the face; he could not believe that he was here, in the Ministry of Magic, or that Cornelius Fudge was talking to him, when Harry had told Fudge mere weeks ago that Malfoy was a Death Eater.
'The Minister was just telling me about your lucky escape, Potter,' drawled Mr. Malfoy. 'Quite astonishing, the way you continue to wriggle out of very tight holes . . . snakelike, in fact.'
... 'I don't think private matters between myself and the Minister are any concern of yours, Potter,' said Malfoy, smoothing the front of his robes. Harry distinctly heard the gentle clinking of what sounded like a full pocket of gold. 'Really, just because you are Dumbledore's favourite boy, you must not expect the same indulgence from the rest of us . . . shall we go up to your office, then, Minister?'
'Certainly' said Fudge, turning his back on Harry and Mr. Weasley. 'This way, Lucius.'
They strode off together, talking in low voices. Mr. Weasley did not let go of Harry's shoulder until they had disappeared into the lift.
'Why wasn't he waiting outside Fudge's office if they've got business to do together?' Harry burst out furiously. 'What was he doing down here?'
'Trying to sneak down to the courtroom, if you ask me,' said Mr. Weasley, looking extremely agitated and glancing over his shoulder as though making sure they could not be overheard. 'Trying to find out whether you'd been expelled or not. I'll leave a note for Dumbledore when I drop you off, he ought to know Malfoy's been talking to Fudge again.'
'What private business have they got together, anyway?'
'Gold, I expect,' said Mr. Weasley angrily. 'Malfoy's been giving generously to all sorts of things for years . . . gets him in with the right people . . . then he can ask favours . . . delay laws he doesn't want passed . . . oh, he's very well-connected, Lucius Malfoy.'
(OOTP, Chapter 9, The Woes of Mrs. Weasley)

In addition, we know that Fudge is afraid of Dumbledore and dislikes him:

'Yep,' said Sirius. 'Fudge thinks Dumbledore will stop at nothing to seize power. He's getting more paranoid about Dumbledore by the day. It's a matter of time before he has Dumbledore arrested on some trumped-up charge.' (OOTP, Ch14)

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    The last passage was from OOTP, but my question is from COS. Wasn't Fudge always asking for advice back then? I thought Fudge only started getting paranoid after GOF. – Jake Jan 25 '15 at 19:36
  • @Jake - That's why it was "in addition". But his insecurity about Dumbledore clearly was from before, because people (as per DH King's Cross) wanted Dumbledore to be MoM – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 25 '15 at 22:40
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There's no reason to suspect that he can, officially, override the Hogwarts Board of Governors. For all intents and purposes, Hogwarts seems to function as a private school - it seems that it must meet the requirements of the Ministry but there's no reason to suspect the Ministry of Magical Britain has any more say over Hogwarts hiring practices and internal operations than Congress or the President have over a private school in the US.

That's not to say the Minister (or even the Ministry) is incapable of doing such a thing - in later books, they legislate specific powers over the school. That said, those powers they give themselves are given by legislation that (presumably) must pass some sort of overview or be voted upon. The times we see it mandated are times when the government is (and is supposed to be seen as) overstepping its bounds.

It's certainly possible that the Minister of Magic, as an important political figure who (in theory) has the support of a majority of the population, could influence such things. Important politicians tend to be wealthy and have powerful friends, many of whom owe them favors or who would like favors owed. In this case, however, Lucious Malfoy is similarly powerful and capable of exerting pressure, has a more strongly vested interest in a particular outcome, and the Minister (Fudge) is both under his sway and extremely weak.

So, to sum up: NO, the Ministry can't really make such determinations, until they give themselves that power (likely illegally) and Fudge is incapable of standing up to the will of Malfoy to make it happen anyway.

  • Board of Governors, not Directors. – Valorum Jan 24 '15 at 9:53
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To directly answer the question:

Fudge has no authority.

Malfoy states as much in the very next sentence:

"The appointment or suspension of the headmaster is a matter for the govenors, Fudge", said Mr. Malfoy smoothly.

In fact, it appears that the govenors extert pressure on Fudge, rather than the other way around:

"Look, Albus," said Fudge, uncomfortably. "Hagrid's record's against him. Ministry's got to do something - the school govenors have been in touch - "

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, chapter 14: "Cornelius Fudge"

It isn't until "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" that the Ministry make moves granting itself control over Hogwarts in the form Educational Decrees including Educational Decree Twenty-Three which implementated the position of Hogwarts High Inquisitor:

"In a surprise move last night, the Ministry of Magic passed new legislation giving itself an unprecedented level of control at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter 15: "The Hogwarts High Inquisitor"

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I don't think Fudge could have interfered with the running of Hogwarts. Looking at it from a muggle perspective a head of a cannot the state cannot ask the board of governors of a School/College to hire/fire a headmaster.

Minister of magic could have put pressure on the governors of Hogwarts. But they are not bound to listen to him.

If Fudge had forcefully got involved, the headlines in next day's Daily Prophet would be

Political Interference with internal affairs of Hogwarts.

  • Board of Governors, not Directors. – Valorum Jan 24 '15 at 9:54

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