Roger Severino, a former pro-life leader in the Trump administration, filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden last week, accusing his administration of trying to unlawfully kick him out of a federal agency position.
Severino, the former head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Civil Rights Office, said Biden is trying to remove him from the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States. President Donald Trump appointed him to a three-year term in January.
“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 wrote in an email to LifeNews.com and other news outlets.
According to his lawsuit, the White House Presidential Personnel Office asked Severino to resign from the position by Feb. 3 and threatened to fire him if he refused.
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Severino said the Biden administration did not give him any reason to justify his removal from the position. He also noted that Trump did not kick out any of President Barack Obama’s appointees to the council before their terms expired.
“I believe this is the first time in ACUS history that a president has attempted such a move,” he said. “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.”
He said three other council members received similar correspondence from the White House, requesting their resignations.
The Council of the Administrative Conference is an independent federal agency that studies administrative procedures in federal agencies and recommends improvements.
Politico reports more on the lawsuit:
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.
Politico said the White House did not respond to its request for comment.
Under Trump, Severino ramped up efforts to protect pro-life medical workers, charities and other individuals from discrimination and conscience violations.
His office stopped two state policies that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortions. The states were Hawaii and California. In the California case, the U.S. Supreme Court also blocked the pro-abortion policy, saying it violates free speech.
The Office of Civil Rights also fought to protect pro-life medical workers whose employers tried to force them to help abort unborn babies. Notably, it helped a pro-life nurse who said her employer, the University of Vermont Medical Center, tricked her into helping abort an unborn baby, telling her it was a miscarriage.
Severino is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington D.C. and the new HHS Accountability Project.