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SCOTUS rejects challenge to Trump Commissioner Whitaker



WASHINGTON – Monday's US Supreme Court stayed out of controversy over whether President Whitworth Trump's appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Deputy Attorney General is unlawful by refusing a motion filed in a pending firearms case.

The court dismissed a petition filed by federal prosecutor Barry Michaels, whose lawyers named Whitaker, a former prosecutor, in court papers as Deputy Prosecutor General after Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on November 7 In a brief ruling, the court also denied the hearing of Michaels in the underlying case.

Michaels filed a lawsuit in Nevada against a US law that prevents him from buying a gun due to non-violent criminal convictions. His lawyers decided to make Whitaker's appointment a problem in their pending appeal to the Supreme Court, because Sessions was originally named as a defendant in the case.

Michael's lawyers argued that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the second representative of the Division, Should Sessions succeed under a federal law that exercises the full authority of the Deputy Prosecutor General if the Attorney General's office becomes vacant.

Trump has appointed William Barr, who served as Attorney General under former President George HW Bush as successor to Sessions as Attorney General. The Senate is scheduled to begin its hearing on Bar's nomination Tuesday. Rosenstein is preparing to quit his job soon after Barr's inauguration, a department official said last week.

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Matthew Whitaker

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Watches a live television debate in the public television studios of Iowa on Thursday, April 24, 2014 in Johnston, Iowa. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall)

UNITED STATES – July 23: Matt Whitaker (R) Iowa is interviewed in a Roll Call office in Washington, DC (Photo by Douglas Graham / CQ Roll Call)

Iowa Republican, Retired CEO Mark Jacobs (left) and former US Attorney Matt Whitaker speak after a live debate at the KCCI TV studio on Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall)

US Iowa Senate candidate, US Attorney Matt Whitaker, watches a live debate at the KCCI TV studio on Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa , too. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall)

FILE – In this April 11, 2014 file photo, Iowa Senate candidate Matt Whitaker speaks at the Iowa Republican annual Lincoln Day Dinner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A GOP TV ad comparing castrated pigs to spending cuts, and Democrat Bruce Braley commenting that lawyers like him are more apt to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee than an "Iowa farmer" like US Senator Charles Grassley, who have raised the seat of Iowa in the Senate on the GOP list of the 2014 winning races. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall, File)

Iowa Republican Matt Whitaker officially announces that he will attend a 2014 press conference Monday, June 3, 2013, in Ankeny, Iowa, for the US Senate. The former US attorney said he will look for the place to vacate by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, at the age of five. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall)

FILE – In this file photo from April 11, 2014, the Iowa Senate candidate, Matt Whitaker, speaks during the Iowa Republican annual Lincoln Day Dinner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A GOP TV ad comparing castrated pigs to spending cuts, and Democrat Bruce Braley commenting that lawyers like him are more apt to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee than an "Iowa farmer" like US Senator Charles Grassley, which have raised the seat of Iowa in the Senate on the GOP list of the 2014 winning races. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall, File)

UNITED STATES – July 23: Matt Whitaker (R) Iowa is in roll call Office in Washington, DC interviewed. (Photo by Douglas Graham / CQ Roll Call)




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Some of the same lawyers participate in a similar effort to challenge Whitaker's appointment to a federal judge in Maryland.

Maryland Justice Minister Brian Frosh asked a federal judge to block Whitaker from an official

Maryland also alleged that Trump had violated the "appointment clause" of the constitution because the attorney general was a "chief civil servant" by the president must be appointed and confirmed by the Senate.

A similar lawsuit was filed by Democratic US Senators.

The Department of Justice has defended the legality of Whitaker's appointment, claiming Trump was the authority to commission him with a 1998 law called "Federal Vacances Reform Act," even though he was not a Senate-approved official.

The Democrats of Congress had expressed concerns that Whitaker might undermine the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller regarding a possible plot between President Trump's 2016 campaign and Moscow.


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