A few weeks ago, the United States held its mid-term elections to elect new members and re-elect the old ones into the House of Representatives and the Upper house, the Senate respectively. The most surprising news at the end of the day was not that the Democrats had dominated the majority of the lower chamber because it was already predicted based on political trends, but the un-ceremonial sacking of the former Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, that shocked everybody! But the most surprising of all is the President’s choice for the post, Acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker.
The appointment of Matt Whitaker as the Acting Attorney General has sparked so many political and legal discussions from political analysts and scholars over the legality of the appointment. Analysts have questioned the legality of the president’s powers to appoint the acting Attorney General. Also, question over the qualifications of Matt to take the post is being dissected. The issue of Senate confirmation over the appointment is another thing entirely. But first who is Matt Whitaker?
Who is Matt Whitaker?
Matt Whitaker was formerly the Chief-of-staff for the former AG, Jeff Session.Also, Matt served as a United States Attorney during the administration of President George Bush. At one time in 2002, he was the Republican party candidate for a post in Iowa. Over the years, he has contested for public offices under the Republican party flag, and he was a conservative advocate who was the Director for the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust. In 2012, Matt was the state co-chairman for both Texas governor, Rick Perry and Minnesota governor, Tim Pawlenty in Iowa.
Is he qualified for the post of Acting Attorney General?
Weeks ago, the Department of Justice confirmed and cleared Matt for the post of the acting AG which is believed why President Trump appointed him for the position since the DOJ has cleared him. Although, the President would have picked him anyway even if the DOJ did not clear him. The clearance by the DOJ can be described as a green light to the legality of Matt being the Acting Attorney General. Also, it is important to remind ourselves that Matt has been working in the Justice Department for years which gives him the all the experience he needs, and most importantly, he was the highest ranking staff of the former AG, Jeff Session which has given him an experience of the White House politics. Although, he may not have been successful in his political career over the years with several losses in the elections he has contested for, but it would be very unfair not to give him the benefit of the doubt in his ability to serve as the acting Attorney General.
Is Trump Legally right to appoint him?
Also, the action of the president to single-handedly to appoint Matt as the Acting Attorney General has raised eyebrows and serious criticism. Though this is not the first time President Trump would make such an appointment, and it surely won’t be last, but political analysts have questioned the president’s legality to appoint Matt. The State of Maryland contested the appointment with a court injunction asking the post should have been passed to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy of Jeff Session. According to the constitution, the job of the acting AG should have fallen to the Deputy Attorney General, a position which was argued by the Fox News Senior Judicial analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano. According to the Vacancy act, President Trump does not have the power to appoint Matt as the acting AG since the former AG, Jeff Sessions was fired and did not resign. But the several legal scholars like Stephan Vladeck have argued in support of the president’s appointment. He explained that the Matt job is only interim and not yet permanent and also, it is not however proved if Jeff Sessions was fired or he resigned. If he formally resigned, Matt appointment is constitutional. To back it up, the DOJ pronouncement that since the job of Matt is temporary, Senate confirmation is not needed.
Why the Democrats don’t want him?
The Democratic party has always been outspoken, and critics of actions and activities of President’s Trump, and the appointment of Matt Whitaker as the US Acting Attorney General has urged them to criticism again. Members of the Democrats have opposed the appointment of Matt and their lawmakers in the House of Representatives have started demanding answers. They seek answers to why Jeff Sessions was fired, why Matt was Trump’s option and whether Matt will remove himself from the Mueller’s probe. This action of the Democrats is not surprising as they have always shown that they don’t support President Trump’s decision. Also, the Democrats want to investigate Whitakers’ role in the World Patent Marketing company which was proved to be a scam, to demerit him. But the question we should ask ourselves, what are they afraid of?! I think the answer lies in the Democrats explanation that it wants to find out the truth about the Russia interference in the elections and the Robert Mueller’s probe which Whitaker himself described as a “lynch mob.”
Will he be confirmed by the Senate
Another question that needs answer is whether the Senate will confirm Matt Whitaker’s appointment as the Acting Attorney General. With all certainty, Senate confirmation is a certainty. The result of the midterm elections still put the Republican in control of the Senate, and they have shown with the confirmation of Kavanaugh-another Trump candidate for the Supreme Court, even though it was a close vote. Days ago, Chuck Grassley, Senate Judiciary Chairman, and other top Republicans downplayed the concerns about the appointment which is a signal of where the Senate votes will swing to.
The appointment of Matt Whitaker as the US Acting Attorney General by President Trump is another round of news that is expected to rock the political scene of the United States for several weeks to come and possibly till next year since that’s when the Democrat’s lawmakers will have actual power to “ask questions.”
The problem political analysts have with the appointment of Matt Whitaker as the Acting Attorney General President Trump’s motive for the appointment. But it is clear as daylight that the President doesn’t care about the opinions of his critics, and he has demonstrated that times without number.