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Judge to examine whether President Donald Trump violated the US Constitution by appointing Matthew Whitaker

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A federal judge on Monday is set to consider whether President Donald Trump violated the U.S. Constitution by appointing Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, part of a broader lawsuit challenging his administration’s restrictions on asylum for immigrants.

Setting aside established succession practices, the Republican president last month named Whitaker, a Trump loyalist, as the top U.S. law enforcement official after ousting Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

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A decision by U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss could have ramifications for immigrants seeking asylum and for Whitaker’s tenure at the Justice Department as he waits for the U.S. Senate to confirm President Donald Trump’s permanent nominee for attorney general, William Barr.

The lawsuit challenges Trump’s asylum ban for immigrants who illegally cross the U.S. border on the grounds that it violates immigration laws and the Administrative Procedure Act, a statute that governs federal rule-writing procedures.

The lawsuit also makes a constitutional case for why the asylum rules are invalid: that Trump violated the Constitution’s so-called Appointments Clause when he appointed Whitaker because the job of attorney general is a “principal officer” who must be confirmed by the Senate, unlike Whitaker.

It is unclear whether Moss will rule on that point.

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On Friday, Moss heard arguments in a different case also challenging Whitaker’s legitimacy as acting attorney general. Altogether, there are at least nine different legal challenges pending in courts around the country to Whitaker’s appointment.

The asylum restrictions at issue in Monday’s case were made by Trump through a presidential proclamation in November and an interim final rule issued by the departments of justice and homeland security. The rules were put on hold in November by San Francisco-based U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to lift the temporary restraining order, saying the Trump administration had “not established that it is likely to prevail.”

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Last week, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to let Trump’s asylum order take effect as litigation over it proceeds. Tigar will preside over a hearing on Wednesday and will consider whether to impose a more long-lasting injunction.

The case in court on Monday was filed on behalf of several immigrants seeking asylum, including a Honduran man who fled his country with his daughter after a gang threatened to kill his family.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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70 US mayors issue scathing letter demanding Trump USDA call off effort to strip food stamps from 3 million people

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"Executive action should not be used to hurt individuals, families, and communities."

In a letter Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, mayors from 70 cities across the country expressed their "strong opposition" to the Trump administration's proposed federal rule that could cut off food stamps for more than 3 million people.

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US raps China for ‘escalation’ in South China Sea

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The United States on Thursday sharpened its criticism of China's activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea, slamming an "escalation" in efforts to intimidate other claimants" such as Vietnam.

China redeployed a government-owned survey vessel -- with armed escorts -- into the waters off Vietnam earlier this month, the US said.

Hanoi says those waters are part of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The move could reignite a spat between Beijing and Vietnam over rights to the resource-rich waters in the South China Sea. Other countries in Southeast Asia also have claimed parts of the sea.

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2020 Election

‘Unhinged, erratic and nuts’: Conservative warns Trump’s ‘chosen one’ outburst should set off alarms

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In her column for the Washington Post, conservative never-Trumper Jennifer Rubin implored Republicans to look deep down inside themselves and stop defending Donald Trump after the president bizarrely declared himself the "chosen one" while speaking to the press on Wednesday.

Under a headline, "Trump’s unhinged display should frighten everyone,"Rubin ticked off comments made by the president in the past week since he returned from vacation including expressing a desire to buy Greenland, proposing -- then backing off -- new tax policies and calling Jews "disloyal" and wondered what it will take for people to see that the president is "nuts."

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