Trump announced his intention to appoint Severino to the advisory board in July, and Severino received his commission just over two weeks ago. He argued that the council is separate from any executive power and that the president does not have the authority to fire him at will. When he asked for a reason for his termination, the White House did not respond, the suit alleges.
“The Council does not wield any executive power — indeed, it does not wield any power at all as a purely advisory entity — so President Biden has no constitutional power to terminate Mr. Severino or any other member of the Council,” the lawsuit said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this article.
The suit comes as the Biden administration works to weed out political holdovers from the Trump presidency still working in the executive branch. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ousted members of 31 defense advisory boards who were appointed in the twilight days of Trump’s presidency. Other members of defense advisory boards, including those appointed by Trump himself, remain under review.
Severino had previously served as head of the Department of Health and Human Services civil rights office, where he shored up protections for health care workers objecting to abortions on religious reasons and defended a rollback of protections for LGBT patients.