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Sean Spicer. Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former director of the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought sued President Biden on Thursday over their ouster from the Board of Visitors to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Why it matters: The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., by the conservative group America First Legal, claims Biden "has no statutory authority to terminate Mr. Spicer’s and Mr. Vought’s appointments to the Board."

  • Vought and Spicer both served in the Trump administration.

Catch up fast: The Biden administration this month asked 18 members of military service advisory boards, including 11 officials appointed by former President Trump, to resign or be fired.

  • Critics said the move created a precedent that politicizes a traditionally nonpartisan — if patronage-heavy — system, writes Axios' Lachlan Markay. Appointees have generally been permitted to serve out their terms regardless of their political affiliations, even after a new president takes office.
  • Biden press secretary Jen Psaki suggested to reporters at the time that members of the board were not qualified to serve, and that the White House was seeking board members "who are aligned with our core values."

What they're saying: “Sean Spicer and Russ Vought are American patriots who were appointed to positions on the Board of Visitors at the United States Naval Academy because of their ability to contribute to the Board with their unique skills and tremendous experiences," wrote AFL vice president and general counsel Gene Hamilton in a news release.

  • "President Biden’s threatened dismissal of them before their terms expire — from the purely advisory Board of Visitors, an entity that exercises no executive power whatsoever — violates the law."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook's scandals have been great for shareholders

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios

Facebook has been embroiled in scandal for the past five years, and while the specific allegations change over time, a central theme is constant. Given the choice between commercial and moral imperatives, Facebook always seems to choose the option that is best for the share price.

Why it matters: Facebook's stock chart supports that narrative. Since the 2016 scandals alleging that the social network was infiltrated by foreign actors trying to influence the outcome of democratic elections, Facebook's revenues — and its stock — have been soaring.

Biden to tap telecom trio for NTIA, FCC posts

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to name Alan Davidson as head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as a commissioner at the FCC, according to a person familiar with the process.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.