President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that he was naming former U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pushed out. | AP file photo

Trump broke the law with his attorney general appointment

SHARE Trump broke the law with his attorney general appointment
SHARE Trump broke the law with his attorney general appointment

President Donald Trump illegally appointed Matthew Whitaker to replace ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had abruptly announced his forced resignation the afternoon of that same day. Sessions stated in a letter that he was tendering his resignation upon the request of Trump.

The appointment of Whitaker as acting attorney general is a violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998. The FVRA applies in the following situations “If an officer of an Executive agency … whose appointment to office is required to be made by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office.” Sessions’ resignation fulfills this requirement.

The FVRA further states “the first assistant to the office of such officer shall perform the functions and duties of the office temporarily in an acting capacity.” Since Rod Rosenstein is the deputyattorney general or “first assistant,” he should have been made acting attorney general.This claim of illegality is further supported by Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution which states that such appointments are “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.” Whitaker was not confirmed by the Senate.

This presents a constitutional crisis. The president of the United States is not above the law and is subject to the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. Congress must act and challenge this appointment. If Trump refuses to heed the advice of Congress, then they must take steps to ensure the constitutional process is followed.

I urge everyone, if you want to make sure the Constitution is followed, to contact your members of Congress and urge them to act.

Bill Becker, Roscoe

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Rogers Park killer

The largest reward in city history is being offered in the manhunt for the Rogers Park spree killer

These killings were horrific. I know people who knew both victims. I’m glad the police department is working vigilantly to investigate. But what makes these crimes so much worse than the hundreds that happen throughout the city every year? Why is violent crime in some neighborhoods more awful than in others? Why are two deaths a few days apart in Rogers Park a “spree,” but not when it happens in Washington Park or Lawndale? What does it say about us that we consider it “just the way it goes” for hundreds of thousands of residents of the south and west sides of the city, but it warrants “unprecedented” police resources when it happens on the North Side?

If the reward money is coming from private sources, that’s OK. But if it is coming from public sources, how about offering the same amount to solve the murders of Terry Wilson and Teandre Belcher, two teenagers on their way home from school who were shot in Douglas, near the Sox-35th Street Red Line station, just a few days before the Rogers Park killings? Or Alberto Bocanegra, a community activist shot while trying to chase down a hit-and-run driver in Chatham? Or any of the other victims in the 83% of unsolved murders in the city? How about reassigning some of those 40 detectives working on these two cases to some of the others?

Aviva Miriam Patt, Noble Square

Real estate tax

The article by Daniel Hertz and Marissa Novara (“If you’re selling a mansion, you should be taxed more to pay for affordable housing”) was simply absurd and ill-informed.

Mr. Hertz proposes increasing the real estate transfer tax in Chicago. Having read his resume, I’m not at all surprised. He states he has lived in 17 cities in 30 years. With the roots of a dead plant, he would not be one of those he would like to see taxed more and more. The idea is his, but the tax would be paid by others. Citizens of Chicago are already among the highest taxed populations in the country. Our sales taxes, fuel taxes, state and federal income taxes, Medicare, Social Security, cigarette taxes, luxury taxes, and countless other ways in which we support our government is never enough for the likes of such carpet-baggers as Mr. Hertz.

Mr. Hertz and his frequent collaborator Ms. Novara are not economists, nor are they educated, experienced or skilled at urban finance. Rather, they are not in any manner associated with any endeavor other than supporters of expanded affordable housing. They fail to consider housing values, for example, in Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, Old Town, South Loop, or many Chicago neighborhoods where homes were bought, perhaps with FHA assistance, 20 or so years back — homes that were moderately priced then, but have seen through gentrification a marked increase in value. Hertz and Novara propose that those homeowners should now suffer greatly increased taxes to pay for the authors’ cuddly blue blanket: affordable housing.

They are like the man with a new hammer, who sees the world as a nail. They see every Chicagoan (who put down the roots neither Hertz nor Novara has ever had) as somebody who needs to pay more and more.

Keep it up, and Detroit will not be unique.

Michael C. Goode, North Side

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