Supreme Court refuses to review legality of Whitaker as acting AG

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge to the legality of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ MORE’s decision to name Matthew Whitaker acting attorney general.

The request came in a case, which the court also refused to review, disputing the constitutionality of the lifetime ban on felons owning guns when it’s applied to someone who served their sentence a long time ago and has since been a law abiding citizen.

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Attorneys for Barry Michaels, the Nevada man at the center of the Second Amendment case, argued that under the federal succession statute Senate-confirmed Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ MORE automatically became acting attorney general after former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says he was interviewed by Mueller CNN hires former DOJ spokesperson under Sessions as editor on 2020 campaign MORE stepped down in November, and that Whitaker’s appointment violated the Appointments Clause of the Constitution.

Thomas Goldstein, one of Michaels's attorneys, noted that Whitaker’s actions on anything from appointing immigration judges to overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s Russia investigation could be challenged in court if his appointment is later found to be invalid.

“If this Court declines to resolve this question immediately and instead determines several months in the future that Mr. Whitaker’s appointment was always invalid, then ‘unwinding’ all of those personal orders would be a fraught and disruptive exercise that could embroil the federal courts in innumerable collateral disputes,” Michaels's attorneys wrote in a brief.

The justices denied review of both Michaels’s case and Whitaker’s role as acting attorney general in the case.

At least four justices are needed to agree to review a case.

Updated at 10:19 a.m.