RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
President Trump's choice of Matthew Whitaker to be the acting attorney general is running into a whole lot of opposition - and not just from Democrats. Two former attorneys general from the George W. Bush administration are questioning the legality of the appointment. And today, the first legal action challenging Whitaker's appointment will be filed. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg reports.
NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: The challenge, brought by the state of Maryland, is likely to be the first of many against Whitaker's appointment. It involves the Affordable Care Act and its provisions protecting equal insurance rates for people with previous medical conditions. The Trump administration takes the position that the guarantee for people with previous medical conditions is illegal, that it was essentially struck from the law when Congress repealed the health insurance mandate provision - in short, that these provisions are joined at the hip.
Maryland, which already has a lawsuit on this point, disagrees. And now it argues that the acting attorney general has been illegally appointed - meaning that the man who's now overseeing all the department's litigation is illegally there and has no authority. The state contends that the Attorney General Succession Act provides that the deputy attorney general or other confirmed Justice Department officers in a designated order of succession must serve as acting attorney general until a new person is confirmed for that position.
Nina Totenberg, NPR News, Washington.
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