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 rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' 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 RosensteinRosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts Journalist alleging Obama administration spied on her seeks to reopen case Rosenstein on his time in Trump administration: 'We got all the big issues right' MORE automatically became acting attorney general after former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsICE subpoenas Denver law enforcement: report Bottom Line DOJ inquiry tied to Clinton, touted by Trump winds down with no tangible results: report 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 MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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.