Ethics & Public Policy Center

EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino Sues President Biden Over Unlawful Attempted Removal from Independent Agency

February 4, 2021


EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino on Wednesday filed suit in federal court seeking to prevent President Biden from removing him from the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) before the expiration of his three-year term as provided by law. Mr. Severino, the head of the HHS Civil Rights Office from March 2017 until January of this year, was appointed by President Trump to the ACUS Council in August of 2020 and reappointed in January 2021.

“President Biden’s attempt to remove me contrary to law exposes his lofty promises of healing and uniting all Americans as nothing more than cynical manipulation,” said Mr. Severino, who joined the Ethics and Public Policy Center this week and who will head up EPPC’s new HHS Accountability Project. “Because I am not one to be bullied, not even by the President himself, I will not resign my duly commissioned post and look forward to seeing how President Biden tries to justify his vindictive actions in court.”

ACUS is an independent, and historically non-controversial, federal agency composed of experts in law and regulations who study administrative procedures in federal agencies and recommend improvements. Mr. Severino has been an active and valued member of the ACUS Council since his initial appointment, and no reason for his attempted removal has been given by President Biden or his staff.

Notably, the Trump Administration did not terminate any Obama-era ACUS appointees before their terms expired, and this appears to be the first time in ACUS history that a President has attempted such a move.

A copy of the complaint, which was filed Feb. 3 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, may be viewed here.

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