A group of Senate Democrats is suing to block the appointment of acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker on the grounds that his appointment violates the Constitution.
The Daily Beast reports that the suit against Whitaker “is being filed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia” and seeks to stop him from exercising powers of the U.S. attorney general.
The lawsuit argues that Whitaker’s appointment to acting AG is unconstitutional because, unlike current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Whitaker was not confirmed by the Senate when he took the job as former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff.
The argument is similar to the one outlined by George Conway, the husband of White House counsel Kellyanne Conway, who earlier this month also said that the Whitaker appointment violated the Constitution’s Appointments Clause.
“We cannot tolerate such an evasion of the Constitution’s very explicit, textually precise design,” Conway wrote in a New York Times editorial along with fellow attorney Neal Katyal. “Senate confirmation exists for a simple, and good, reason. Constitutionally, Matthew Whitaker is a nobody. His job as Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff did not require Senate confirmation… For the president to install Mr. Whitaker as our chief law enforcement officer is to betray the entire structure of our charter document.”