Notice & Comment

ABA AdLaw Section Teleforum, 12/18 3PM EST: The Vacancies Act and the Attorney General

The Vacancies Act and the Attorney General: Constitutional and Statutory Issues Teleconference
December 18, 2018 | 3:00 PM – 4 PM EST | Teleconference
Is Matt Whitaker legally serving as the Acting Attorney General?In early November, at the request of President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned. Under the Department of Justice’s succession statute, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would be the Acting Attorney General until a new nominee could be confirmed. President Trump, however, immediately turned to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 to name Matt Whitaker, Sessions’s Chief of Staff, as Acting Attorney General. Under the Vacancies Act, the default acting official is the first assistant to the vacant office, here the Deputy Attorney General. But the Act permits the President to choose another Senate-confirmed official from any agency or a sufficiently senior official at the same agency who has served for at least ninety days. Whitaker falls into that last category.

Maryland, some Democratic Senators, and others have turned to the courts to challenge Whitaker’s new role-on constitutional and statutory grounds. The district court in Maryland’s challenge will hear oral arguments on December 19. There is a motion pending at the Supreme Court to substitute Rosenstein as the opposing party in a petition for certiorari.

Confirmed Panelists

  • William Baude, Professor of Law and Aaron Director Research Scholar, University of Chicago Law School
  • Marty Lederman, Visiting Professor of Law, Georgetown Law School
  • Jennifer Mascott, Assistant Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School
  • Anne Joseph O’Connell, Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
  • Stephen Vladeck, A. Dalton Cross Professor in Law, University of Texas School of Law

Open to ABA members and the general public.
NO CLE Credit is available for this program.
There is no cost associated with this program, but registration is required.

TO REGISTER: Please send an email with your name and contact information to

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