DOJ Lawyer Resigned Day After Sessions Said Department Wouldn’t Defend O’Care


A career Department of Justice attorney resigned the morning after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DOJ would refuse to defend Obamacare against a 20-state lawsuit, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Joel McElvain, the Post reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, submitted his resignation Friday. An unnamed DOJ spokesperson told the paper the resignation would take affect in early July. 

After Republicans in Congress repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate, 20 GOP-controlled states sued over the law, saying it was unconstitutional as a result of the mandate’s repeal. 

Just before 6 p.m. Thursday — shortly before Sessions’ announcement — McElvain and two other career DOJ attorneys withdrew from the lawsuit. A DOJ spokesperson told TPM the attorney shake-up was due to “personnel issues.”

McElvain submitted his resignation the next morning, the Post said.

In deciding not to uphold the law, the Trump administration had determined its “dislike for the Affordable Care Act outweighed its respect for the rule of law,” University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley told USA Today last week.

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