Federal judge rules that Trump’s acting immigration chief Ken Cuccinelli’s appointment is illegal

A federal judge just ruled that Donald Trump’s appointment of Ken Cuccinelli — the controversial former Virginia Attorney General with ties to an anti-immigrant hate group and a reputation as a promoter of white nationalist, anti-LGBTQ, and misogynistic beliefs — as his acting Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was illegal, in another defeat for the president’s misguided anti-immigrant crusade before the courts.

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U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss issued a 55-page decision that concluded that “Cuccinelli was not lawfully appointed to serve as the acting Director of USCIS” and, even more crucially, determined that the policies that the improperly appointed acting Director mandated regarding the treatment of asylum seekers “must be set aside.”

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With Trump now regularly avoiding the constitutional requirement that his senior administration officials be confirmed by the Senate — despite the fact that the upper chamber of Congress is controlled by his fellow Republicans who have already demonstrated that they are too fearful of his vengeful wrath and potential primary challenges to dare defy his will — by appointing “acting” heads in key positions, Judge Moss’ decision was a strong message to the president that the constitutional requirement of “advice and consent” is not something that he is allowed to ignore.

In his opinion, Judge Moss wrote that Senate confirmation of senior executive branch office holders is “more than a matter of ‘etiquette or protocol’; it is among the significant structural safeguards of the constitutional scheme.”

Trump has been rightfully criticized for picking his recent appointees more for their personal loyalty to himself than for any particular competency for the jobs to which he assigns them, as this recent tweet from the acting director in question in this case demonstrates.

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Cuccinelli was appropriately raked over the coals for the cluelessness he displayed with that tweet by citizens convinced that the government should employ senior officials who at least know how to navigate an internet paywall and demonstrate an IQ at least within the minimum normal range.

Twitter was equally abuzz over today’s court ruling declaring Cuccinelli’s appointment illegal.

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While it’s likely that the Trump administration will appeal the ruling and ask for an emergency stay of the Judge’s order to rescind the directives made during Cuccinelli’s tenure to date, it’s encouraging that there are still a few judges left outside of the raft of politically-motivated new judges that Trump has nominated to the federal judiciary who are willing to maintain the rule of law in the face of the president’s constant assaults on precedent, proper procedure, and the Constitution.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement at RawStory.

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Vinnie Longobardo

Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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