On Jan. 16, 2021, former President Donald Trump appointed Roger Severino to a three-year term on the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States, a half-governmental body whose job it is to review and improve the federal bureaucracy.
President Biden attempted to remove Severino from that post. Since this move is in direct violation of the law, Severino filed a lawsuit against Biden on Wednesday, Feb. 3.
Biden Tries to Fire Severino
On Feb. 2, Severino received an email from Gautam Raghavan, the deputy director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office, that read as follows:
“I am writing on behalf of President Biden to request your resignation from the Administrative Conference of the United States Council by 5:00 p.m. ET tomorrow, February 3. If you do not resign by that time, your appointment to the Council will be terminated. Thank you for your time and service.”
Nonplussed, Severino replied asking what the grounds were for that request, given that it was so early in his appointed term. Neither Raghavan nor anyone else responded to him.
The decision to try and oust Severino may be politically motivated. Prior to his current position, he was the director of the Office of Civil Rights at HHS, and he founded a division there that kept track of conscience and religious freedom compliance.
Severino’s lawsuit clearly points out that Biden simply does not have the authority to fire Severino from his position on the Council. It states, in part, “The statute governing ACUS provides that Mr. Severino’s term on the Council lasts for three years, and the statute makes no provision or allowance for at-will presidential removal.
President Biden has no authority to terminate Mr. Severino’s appointment to the Council under 5 U.S.C. § 595(b) or Article II of the Constitution. Mr. Severino seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent this unlawful removal.”
The lawsuit also alleges that other members of the council have also received threatening letters from Raghavan demanding that they resign.
It is a rather simple and cut-and-dried case, but it indicates the length to which Biden and his team are willing to go to completely erase all memory of the Trump administration from existence.