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Federal judge throws out Sean Spicer lawsuit over dismissal from Navy board

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., threw out a lawsuit Monday from former White House press secretary Sean Spicer against President Joe Biden over his dismissal from a military service board.

Federal law under the U.S. legal code did not protect Spicer or former President Donald Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought from dismissal from the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors if the presidential administration switched during their terms, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled.

Because the purpose of the committee was to advise the president, if the president did not want advice from the members of the board, it was within his right to remove the advisers, Friedrich, who denied an injunction request in December that would have required Biden to reinstate both men to their posts, added.


Spicer and Vought argued unsuccessfully in the lawsuit, filed last September, that the president did not have the power to remove Trump’s appointees to military boards because they were all appointed to three-year terms.

Trump appointed 11 people to the military boards in the final weeks of his administration, including Spicer, who was a Navy reservist, and former White House counsel Kellyanne Conway, who was appointed to the Air Force Academy Board of Visitors. However, Biden requested Conway, Vought, and Spicer resign from their posts when he became president, or else he would remove them. All three appointees refused and were removed, while the White House said Biden wanted to replace Trump’s appointees with people who were qualified and more aligned with the views of the voters.


America First Legal and the White House are representing the parties involved in the suit. Reed Rubinstein, who represents the plaintiffs, said the firm would likely file an appeal.

“At a minimum, what the government did here is a break from longstanding practices and norms, and we believe that the district court’s analysis likely was incorrect,” Rubinstein said, according to Bloomberg. “There is significant value in protecting the integrity and stability of the board at issue here.”

If the men had not been removed from their offices, Spicer’s term would have ended at the end of last year, while Vought would have remained until the end of next year.

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