Who Is Sally Yates, Acting Attorney General Fired For Defying Trump?
WHO IS SALLY YATES?
The immigration ban stops citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia from entering the United States. The ban is slated to last 90 days, plus new refugees are suspended for 120 days, and specifically Syrian refugees are banned from entering the country indefinitely.
“My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts,” Yates said in a letter. “In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.”
Yates was appointed by President Obama and was set to continue to serve until Trump’s pick, Jeff Sessions, was confirmed. His confirmation hearing is currently ongoing today. The executive order, signed Friday, caused hundreds of people, regardless of visa and green card status, to be detained at airports across the country, with many being deported. Already court cases in five states – Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, Washington and California – to challenge Trump’s order.
“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,” Yates said before her termination.
Representative Elijah Cummings (D) of the House Oversight Committee applauded Yates for her powerful stance. “In all my years as a member of Congress, which now is 21, I’ve met so many very principled people who truly believe in the Constitution and doing what is right,” Cummings said. “There comes a time when people, no matter who may be their boss, they stand upon their principles, so at the end of the day they can look them selves in the mirror and say ‘I synchronized my conduct with my conscience.’ And Yates is such a person.”
Yates firing is unsurprising. “This will be moot,” writes CNN contributor and law professor Steve Vladek. “Then we will very much see the Trump Justice Department led by Jeff Sessions defend this executive order pretty vigorously. And then it will be up to the courts.”
Trump took to Twitter to attack Democrats who are opposing him and his new cabinet picks, saying, “the Democrats are delaying my cabinet picks for purely political reasons. They have nothing going but to obstruct. Now have an Obama A.G.” In response, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “When you do something as important as this, it can’t be a Twitter-type activity. This has to be thoroughly vetted… and it’s a very bad omen for this presidency.”