A person few readers have probably heard of, Sally Q. Yates, the current head of the Justice Department until Trump’s nominee Jeff Sessions is confirmed, is refusing to defend the Trump Administration’s ban on immigration.
Yates, who is left from the Obama Administration, was asked to stay on by Trump until the Senate hearings confirmed his nominee, a decision he is likely regretting tonight.
Not since the days of the Nixon Administration has the head of the Justice Department refused to do what their boss asked them to do.
In a letter to Justice Department lawyers Yates wrote, “For as long as I am the acting attorney general, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the executive order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.”
Yates said she is not sure if Trump’s executive order is legal. Yates served at Deputy Attorney General for the Obama Administration.
Over the weekend, several federal judges agreed to injunctions filed by attorneys for some who had been detained. For now at least, it’s unlikely that lawyers in the Justice Department under Yates will put up a defense of Trump’s order.
However, Trump does have the option to dismiss Yates, but it’s doubtful that would change the course of action taken by Yates today, until such time as Trump’s nominee is confirmed and takes over the Department.