Democrat delay in confirming Jeff Sessions paying off.
We have seen this picture before. A political position by the Department of Justice which abandons its obligation to defend a law or action of the government, as in the Defense of Marriage Act, in court.
The issue is not that personally DOJ attorneys have to agree with the law, or action of the government, but that DOJ is the government’s attorney and needs to provide the best representation possible. In the DOMA case, the House of Representatives had to go out and find private counsel.
That is happening again with regard to Trump’s Executive Order on visas and refugees, according to multiple reports.
The acting Attorney General Sally Yates has told Justice Department lawyers not to make legal arguments defending President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees, according to sources familiar with the order.
Yates, an Obama appointee who is serving until Trump attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions is onfirmed, does not believe the substance of the order is lawful, according to the sources….
Currently, there are cases filed in at least five states including Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, ashington and California that are challenging Trump’s order.
The NY Times quotes the directive:
“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,” Ms. Yates wrote in a letter to Justice Department lawyers. “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.”
The decision is largely symbolic — Mr. Trump’s nominee to be attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is likely to be confirmed soon — but it highlights the deep divide at the Justice Department and elsewhere in the government over Mr. Trump’s order.
Mr. Trump has the authority to fire Ms. Yates, but as the top Senate confirmed official at the Justice Department, she is the only one authorized to sign foreignsurveillance warrants, an essential function at the department.
“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,” she wrote.
This is Yates at the unveiling of Eric Holder’s official portrait, at which time she showered accolades on Holder:
While Sessions may be in place soon, in the meantime there is litigation pending. Judicial decisions in the next few days could prove important. Trump needs to remove her immediately.
This is something I’ve worried about, that anti-Trump bureaucrats would attempt to undermine his administration for political reasons, thereby overruling the election.
Update: Trump responds on Twitter
and NOW SHE’S FIRED (more to come in separate post):
.@POTUS has named Dana Boente, US Attorney for the Eastern District of VA as Acting Attorney General. Sally Yates has been relieved.
— Kayleigh McEnany 45 Archived (@PressSec45) January 31, 2017
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