Roger Severino, who was appointed to the Council of the Administration Conference of the United States by former President Donald Trump in January 2021, filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden on Wednesday after being informed he was being fired.
Severino said Wednesday that although he had been asked to vacate his three-year-long term on the Council by White House Presidential Personnel Office Deputy Director Gautam Raghavan by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, he would refuse to resign.
“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,” Severino said in a Wednesday email to Newsweek.
“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,” Severino added.
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.
According to a copy of the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sent to Newsweek, Raghavan asked Severino to resign “on behalf of President Biden.”
Severino responded asking Raghavan for the reason behind his request.
“Neither Mr. Raghavan nor any else from the White House has responded to Mr. Severino’s email,” the court documents state.
Severino alleged that Biden has no authority to end Severino’s term on the Council which, according to the lawsuit, “does not wield any executive power.”
According to its website, the ACUS provides “nonpartisan expert advice and recommendations for federal agency procedures.” Severino’s litigation says that “on information and belief,” 3 other members of the ACUS were asked to resign by Raghavan.
“President Biden‘s threatened termination of Mr. Severino and his fellow members is therefore unlawful and should be promptly enjoined,” the lawsuit read.
Along with Biden and Raghavan, White House Presidential Personnel Office Director Catherine M. Russell was named as a defendant in Severino’s case.
Severino served as the director of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights during the Trump administration. During Severino’s tenure, the HHS changed a rule in the Affordable Care Act that was designed to protect people, including transgender individuals, from sexual discrimination. According to a June 2020 release from the HHS, the rule marked a return to the “government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.”
Biden‘s removal of the members of the Federal Services Impasse Panel was lauded by the president of the American Federation of Government Employees Everett Kelley. In a Tuesday statement, Kelley described the former members of the panel as being “stacked with transparently biased union-busters” who were “notorious for ignoring the law to gut workplace rights and further an extreme political agenda.”