Mueller's appointment appears to be unconstitutional under Supreme Court case
...I think Judge T.S. Ellis was on to something and I do not think that the scope letter from Rosenstein can cure it. This appears to just one more area where the Mueller investigation has failed to meet legal requirements. Put that on top of his questionable indictments of people like Flynn, Papadopoulos, Manafort and at least some of the Russian companies and he has a real mess on his hands that looks uncurable at this point.
At issue is the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, which provides that “principal officers” must be appointed by the president with the Senate’s consent. Rehnquist wrote that independent counsel Alexia Morrison qualified as an “inferior officer,” not subject to the appointment process, because her office was “limited in jurisdiction” to “certain federal officials suspected of certain serious federal crimes.”
Mr. Mueller, in contrast, is investigating a large number of people and has already charged defendants with many different kinds of crimes, including—as in Mr. Manafort’s case—ones unrelated to any collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia. That’s too much power for an inferior officer to have. Only a principal officer, such as a U.S. attorney, can behave the way Mr. Mueller is behaving. Mr. Mueller is much more powerful today than any of the 96 U.S. attorneys. He is behaving like a principal officer.
Rehnquist’s majority opinion has never been overturned. In Edmund v. U.S. and in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Oversight Board, the justices said that an officer cannot be inferior unless he has a boss—as Mr. Mueller does in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed him. But that’s not a sufficient condition. As a principal officer, Mr. Rosenstein could legally have brought all the indictments Mr. Mueller has. But he may not delegate that authority to Mr. Mueller, any more than President Trump could delegate his veto power to Mr. Rosenstein.