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UPDATE 1-U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to Trump appointee Whitaker

Updated: 14-01-2019 20:17 IST
UPDATE 1-U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to Trump appointee Whitaker

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday stayed out of the fight over whether President Donald Trump's appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general is unlawful by rejecting a motion relating to the matter filed in a pending case.

The court turned away the request made by Barry Michaels, a criminal defendant in a federal case whose lawyers challenged Whitaker, a former federal prosecutor, being named in court papers as the acting attorney general after Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Nov. 7. The court in a brief order also declined to hear Michaels' appeal in the underlying firearms-related case.

Lawyers for Michaels, who filed a lawsuit in Nevada challenging a U.S. law that bars him from buying a firearm due to prior non-violent criminal convictions, decided to make Whitaker's appointment an issue in their pending appeal before the high court because Sessions was originally named as a defendant in the case.

Michaels' lawyers argued that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the department's No. 2 official, should have succeeded Sessions under a federal law that vests full authority in the deputy attorney general should the office of attorney general become vacant.

Some of the same lawyers behind Friday's motion also are involved in a similar effort to challenge Whitaker's appointment brought before a federal judge in Maryland.

Trump has nominated William Barr, who served as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush, to succeed Sessions as attorney general.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)