Geoffrey Berman was appointed interim US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. After his 120-day interim appointment had run its course, he was re-appointed by the US District Court. Over the last couple of days, we have seen quite a drama as Attorney General Barr announced Berman’s “resignation;” Berman said he had never resigned and was staying put until a successor was confirmed; Barr then fired him, saying it was at the direction of the President; and (yesterday) Berman said he was resigning forthwith.
The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing to look into this. No doubt it will be chock full of politics and accusations that the President and/or Barr were trying to derail potentially damaging investigations in the run-up to the election. In this post, however, I’m going to put the politics to one side and address the quite interesting question whether, under the governing statutes and the Constitution’s separation of powers principle, the President can fire a court-appointed US Attorney. Continue reading . . .