15 state attorneys general back Maryland in challenging Whitaker's appointment

15 state attorneys general back Maryland in challenging Whitaker's appointment
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The attorneys general from 14 states and Washington, D.C., are urging a federal district court judge to block Matthew Whitaker from continuing to serve as acting U.S. attorney general.

The state attorneys general filed a friend of the court brief in support of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s request on Nov. 13 for a court to name Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinEx-federal prosecutor: I would have 'owned' wearing a wire to record Trump The embarrassing return of Andrew McCabe The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight MORE to the interim role.

Maryland’s request was filed as part of ongoing litigation over the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

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The states argued in their brief that doubts over the legality of Whitaker’s appointment puts them at risk. They said states make decisions every day in response to Justice Department actions that could now be challenged in court.

“The relationship between the Justice Department and the States is so essential — whether it is collaborative or adversarial — that any doubts about the legitimacy of the Acting Attorney General threaten to harm the Amici States,” they argued in the 22-page brief.

Maryland in one of several legal actions mounting over Trump’s decision to name Whitaker the acting attorney general after former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight The Memo: Trump and McCabe go to war McCabe book: Sessions once said FBI was better off when it 'only hired Irishmen' MORE resigned at the president’s request on Nov. 7.

The state and others argue the appointment is unlawful and unconstitutional.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery MORE cannot ignore federal law and Congress’s confirmation powers to elevate a non-confirmed political appointee to act as the nation’s highest law enforcement officer,” Racine said in a statement. “We’re filing an amicus brief supporting Maryland because President Trump’s appointment of Mr. Whitaker is illegal, unconstitutional, and runs counter to the rule of law.”

The brief was brought by the state attorneys general in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.