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

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

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 RosensteinTrump: I didn't fire Mueller since firings 'didn't work out too well' for Nixon Trump: I didn't fire Mueller since firings 'didn't work out too well' for Nixon GOP group urges Republicans to speak out on obstruction claims against Trump in new ad 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 SessionsSarah Sanders to leave White House Sarah Sanders to leave White House Barr compares his return to DOJ to D-Day invasion 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 cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment 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.