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 TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 RosensteinTrump: Appointing Sessions was my biggest mistake Trump blasts Mueller, decries 'witch hunt' at 2020 launch Trump: I didn't fire Mueller since firings 'didn't work out too well' for Nixon MORE automatically became acting attorney general after former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump: Appointing Sessions was my biggest mistake Nikki Haley blasts Roy Moore's Senate bid: 'He does not represent our Republican Party' Time magazine: Trump threatened reporter with prison time 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 (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump Schiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report 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.