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Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker speaks to state and local law enforcement on efforts to combat violent crime and the opioid crisis in Des Moines, Iowa on Nov. 14, 2018. Scott Morgan/Reuters

Supreme Court declines to engage with dispute over Whitaker appointment

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is refusing to be drawn into a dispute over the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as the acting U.S. attorney general.

The justices on Monday rejected an appeal in a case dealing with gun rights that also included a challenge to President Donald Trump’s appointment of Whitaker to temporarily lead the Justice Department.

The appeal claims Whitaker’s appointment is illegal under federal law and asks the court to name Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as a party in the case, instead of Whitaker.

The Justice Department in November released an internal legal opinion supporting the legality of Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general. Trump has called Whitaker “a highly respected person.”

Former Attorney General William Barr has been nominated by Trump to again lead the Justice Department.

READ MORE: 3 Democratic senators sue over Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as attorney general

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