Appointments, Confirmations & Budgets

Central Intelligence Agency / Ben Balter (background)

Beneath the high-profile conflicts over civil liberties or targeted killings, a myriad more mundane decisions lie at the intersection of national security and the law. Our constitutional process requires the advice and consent of the Senate for many high-level executive positions, including those responsible for national security, and each year, Congress must pass a budget that includes funding for the armed forces and intelligence agencies. Sometimes these confirmation and budgetary battles become proxy fights for larger and deeper disagreements, and often, they simply reflect the petty partisan politics of the age.

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Latest in Appointments, Confirmations & Budgets

Department of Homeland Security

The Federal Vacancies Reform Act Under Trump: The Department of Homeland Security Edition

To quote Yogi Berra, “it’s like déjà vu all over again.” For at least the fourth time in just over two years, a dispute has arisen over the president’s authority to name “acting” agency heads under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA) of 1998. This time around, the debate involves the Department of Homeland Security—and the resignation/firing/un-resignation/ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Federal Law Enforcement

New Resource Page: Litigation Documents on the Appointment of Matthew Whitaker

As Lawfare readers have probably noticed, there has been a fair amount of controversy over Matthew Whitaker's designation as acting attorney general as of late. To keep track of it all, we at Lawfare have put together a resource page collecting all litigation documents regarding Whitaker's appointment, ranging from outright challenges to Whitaker's role as acting attorney general (Maryland v. U.S., Blumenthal v. Whitaker, and Michaels v.

Federal Law Enforcement

Document: Three Senators Challenge Whitaker Appointment in D.C. Federal District Court

On Monday, Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Sheldon Whitehouse and Mazie K. Hirono filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking a federal judge to decide the legality of Matthew Whitaker's service as acting attorney general. The senators argue that Whitaker's appointment is in violation of the Appointments Clause as Whitaker was not confirmed by the U.S. Senate in his prior post. The full complaint is below.

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