Breaking News Emails
By Pete Williams
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to the appointment of Matt Whitaker as acting attorney general.
President Donald Trump appointed him on November 7, shortly after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he was stepping down at the president’s request. Whitaker had been serving as chief of staff to Sessions.
Opponents of his appointment said he was not qualified for the position because he was not subject to Senate confirmation. Their vehicle for the challenge was a pending case against the U.S. attorney general, who was Sessions when the case was filed in June. The challengers asked the justices to rule that the name on the case should be changed to Rod Rosenstein, who they said is actually the acting attorney general.
The Supreme Court case was originally brought by a Nevada man, Barry Michaels, who asked the justices to rule that the right to own a gun should not be taken away from someone convicted of certain non-violent felonies.
On Monday, in a brief order, the court denied the motion to take Whitaker’s name off the case and also said it would not hear the Michaels gun case.
A similar challenge to the Whitaker appointment is pending in federal court in Maryland.
The Trump administration has vigorously defended Whitaker’s appointment. An opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel said the government has identified over 160 times throughout U.S. history when presidents appointed non-Senate confirmed government officials to serve in high level positions. In recent years, the opinion said, such appointments were made by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The opinion said that while courts have held that the Constitution requires principal officers to be confirmed by the Senate, “it does not follow that Acting Attorney General should be understood to be one,” because the person appointed to serve in that capacity is not in a “continuing and permanent” position.
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Rep. Steve King slammed as ‘white supremacist’ for remarks about Katrina victims
Breaking News Emails
/ Source: Associated Press
By Dartunorro Clark
WASHINGTON — GOP Rep. Steve King is under fire after he told constituents at a town hall that victims of Hurricane Katrina pleaded for help from the government in contrast to residents of his home state of Iowa who “take care of each other.”
“Here’s what FEMA tells me: We go to a place like New Orleans and everybody’s looking around saying, ‘Who’s gonna help me, who’s gonna help me?’ When FEMA responds to problems in Iowa, they’re just always gratified when they come and see how Iowans take care of each other,” the Iowa lawmaker told a town hall meeting in Charter Oak, Iowa, on Thursday.
King said he visited New Orleans, which is a majority black city, multiple times after the deadly 2005 storm. More than 1,800 people, mostly black, died from the disaster; however, government officials have noted that the true death toll could be much higher.
Recent spring flooding in the Midwest has devastated towns and rural communities across the region and has been blamed for three deaths.
Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, D-La., whose district includes New Orleans, said in a tweet on Thursday that the remarks are more evidence that King is a “white supremacist.”
“My heart goes out to all Iowans. Though it unsettles me that @SteveKingIA would dare compare them to the countless victims of Katrina, many of whom lost their lives. When people show you who they are, believe them. Steve King is a white supremacist and I won’t stand for it,” Richmond said.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, also blasted King in a tweet on Thursday, calling his comments “disgusting and disheartening.”
“These comments are disgusting and disheartening. When communities are affected by disasters, we come together to help each other, not tear each other down,” he said.
King was one of 11 members of Congress to vote against a bill to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 because he said the $51.8 billion aid package was too expensive. He called it a “good” and “principled” vote, according to HuffPost.
King’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
King has been under fire from his party for remarks about race. In January, GOP voted unanimously to remove King from all committees amid the uproar over his comments about white nationalism. The move came after he questioned why “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization” was offensive in an interview with The New York Times.
“How did that language become offensive?” he asked. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters at the time that King’s language is “reckless, wrong, and has no place in our society.”
King later backtracked in a statement at the time, saying, “I reject white nationalism. I reject white supremacy. It’s not part of any of my ideology. I reject anyone who carries that ideology.”`
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