Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Whitaker's appointment

The Supreme Court said Monday it wouldn't hear a challenge to acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker's app...

Posted: Jan 14, 2019 3:22 PM
Updated: Jan 14, 2019 3:22 PM

The Supreme Court said Monday it wouldn't hear a challenge to acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker's appointment.

The issue arose last year in the context of a case challenging a federal firearms statute. In a highly unusual move, lawyer Tom Goldstein asked the court to declare Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as the acting attorney general, instead of Whitaker. He was appointed to the post by President Donald Trump in November following the departure of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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Goldstein's motion was filed in connection the gun rights case Barry Michaels v. Whitaker, which was automatically renamed from Michaels v. Sessions following Whitaker's appointment.

Since the attorney general is charged with enforcing all federal law, including the statutes in this gun rights case, the motion argues that the identity of the attorney general is imperative, and the rightful acting attorney general is Rosenstein.

The motion urged the Supreme Court to immediately declare the proper acting attorney general since there "is a significant national interest in avoiding the prospect that every district and immigration judge in the nation could, in relatively short order, be presented with the controversy over which person to substitute as Acting Attorney General."

And petitioners even left room for the Supreme Court to affirm Whitaker's appointment saying, "Even if this Court now determines that the President in fact validly appointed Mr. Whitaker as Acting Attorney General, that ruling would equally benefit the administration of justice by removing the cloud of uncertainty over the appointment and by resolving the burgeoning number of challenges to it."

"We do want Rosenstein named Acting Attorney General," Goldstein said. "But we say to the court, even if we're wrong, it sure would be better for everybody to know the answer to that because this has turned into a mess."

Rosenstein announced last week that he plans to leave the Justice Department shortly after William Barr, Trump's nominee for attorney general, is confirmed, according to a source familiar with his thinking.

The motion contended that Whitaker's appointment violated federal law and the Constitution. It argued that the Constitution's Appointments Clause mandates that all principal officers, including the attorney general, must be Senate confirmed, and that the Trump administration should have followed the Attorney General Succession Act when naming Sessions' replacement. The AG Succession Act provides that in the case of the vacancy of the office of attorney general, the deputy attorney general would exercise all duties of the office. The Trump administration has maintained that Whitaker's appointment is valid under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

Other challenges to Whitaker's appointment are pending in lower courts, including a lawsuit brought by three Democratic senators who are challenging Trump's appointment of Whitaker in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 161516

Reported Deaths: 3916
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
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Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
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Lincoln200867
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Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
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Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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