FILE - Acting United States Attorney General Matt Whitaker speaks before introducing President Donald Trump at the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference in Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 7, 2018.
FILE - Acting United States Attorney General Matt Whitaker speaks before introducing President Donald Trump at the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference in Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 7, 2018.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday stayed out of the fight over whether President Donald Trump's appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general is unlawful by rejecting a motion relating to the matter filed in a pending case.

The court turned away the request made by Barry Michaels, a criminal defendant in a federal case whose lawyers challenged Whitaker, a former federal prosecutor, being named in court papers as the acting attorney general after Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on November 7.

The court in a brief order also declined to hear Michaels' appeal in the underlying firearms-related criminal case.