Court Battles

Judge tosses out Sean Spicer lawsuit over Naval Academy board dismissal


A Washington, D.C., federal judge tossed out former White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s lawsuit against President Biden over his dismissal from the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors last year.

In a six-page order filed Monday, U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich found that federal law “did not insulate” Spicer from removal from his position. Therefore, the plaintiffs failed to state a claim for relief.

The back-and-forth began in September, when Biden sought the resignations of Spicer and former Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought from the Naval Academy Board.

Former President Trump appointed them to the board in the final weeks of his presidency as he looked to stock advisory boards with loyalists. Spicer’s term was slated to end in December, and Vought’s at the end of next year.

The president also asked former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who Trump tapped to serve on the U.S. Air Force Academy Board of Visitors, to resign her position.

At the time, the White House defended the move, saying that Biden wanted to ensure he had people on the boards who were “qualified to serve and who are aligned with your values.”

Friedrich denied a motion for preliminary injunction that would have forced Biden to reinstate Spicer and Vought in December, rejecting their arguments that their removal would silent dissenting views and that their positions carried three-year terms.

Monday’s opinion largely maintained that view, finding that the plaintiffs hadn’t identified specific protections from removal.

The Hill has reached out to the White House and America First Legal, which is representing the plaintiffs, for comment.

Tags Biden Kellyanne Conway Russell Vought Sean Spicer Trump

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