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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: 308737

Reported Deaths: 7139
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20931250
Hinds19961410
Harrison17562303
Rankin13369277
Jackson13156243
Madison9950212
Lee9890170
Jones8310161
Forrest7542148
Lauderdale7221237
Lowndes6289144
Lamar613384
Lafayette6072117
Washington5291133
Bolivar4776129
Oktibbeha457197
Panola4458103
Pearl River4437141
Warren4299119
Marshall4286102
Pontotoc417572
Monroe4062132
Union404675
Neshoba4005176
Lincoln3886109
Hancock373385
Leflore3471124
Sunflower331589
Tate325384
Pike3215105
Scott311472
Yazoo305069
Alcorn299465
Itawamba297877
Copiah293965
Coahoma290479
Simpson289586
Tippah285168
Prentiss276659
Marion266279
Leake261773
Wayne261541
Grenada256484
Covington255280
Adams246982
Newton245761
George238547
Winston226081
Tishomingo222567
Jasper220048
Attala213673
Chickasaw205457
Holmes187172
Clay183254
Stone179733
Clarke177776
Tallahatchie176140
Calhoun165431
Yalobusha160136
Smith159334
Walthall131043
Greene129633
Lawrence126623
Noxubee126534
Montgomery125742
Perry125238
Carroll120926
Amite120741
Webster113832
Jefferson Davis105532
Tunica103225
Claiborne101330
Benton97525
Kemper95628
Humphreys94632
Franklin82923
Quitman78916
Choctaw73917
Wilkinson65128
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 521623

Reported Deaths: 10739
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754061493
Mobile39067799
Madison34040496
Tuscaloosa25367444
Montgomery24019567
Shelby23186239
Baldwin20701302
Lee15589165
Calhoun14342311
Morgan14158271
Etowah13685346
Marshall11995220
Houston10404278
Elmore10011200
Limestone9852147
Cullman9503189
St. Clair9463234
Lauderdale9265228
DeKalb8757181
Talladega8115171
Walker7139275
Jackson6756110
Autauga6750103
Blount6519134
Colbert6229130
Coffee5424113
Dale4772111
Russell430038
Franklin420782
Chilton4101109
Covington4061114
Tallapoosa3907146
Escambia390174
Dallas3525149
Chambers3514122
Clarke347060
Marion3072100
Pike306176
Lawrence295995
Winston273172
Bibb256059
Marengo248361
Geneva246075
Pickens233259
Barbour226455
Hale218575
Butler212967
Fayette209460
Henry188044
Cherokee182644
Randolph177241
Monroe172540
Washington165238
Macon155648
Clay150155
Crenshaw149457
Cleburne146741
Lamar139734
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124427
Bullock121640
Conecuh109428
Perry107626
Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
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Columbus
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Some spotty showers will move through our area this morning but should clear out by the afternoon. We should see some breaks in the clouds and temperatures reaching the mid to upper 60s.
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