As TK Whiteman reported earlier, Sally Yates, the Obama holdover serving as acting Attorney General, refused to defend President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven countries known to be hotbeds of terrorism. As a result, she was relieved of her duties and replaced by Dana Boente, the current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to Breitbart:
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement saying that Yates, an Obama administration appointee, had “betrayed the Department of Justice” by refusing to enforce Trump’s order.
“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” the statement read.
Trump replaced Yates with Dana Boente, the current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, until Sen. Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate.
“It is time to get serious about protecting our country,” Spicer’s statement continued. “Calling for tougher vetting for individuals traveling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.”
.@POTUS has named Dana Boente, US Attorney for the Eastern District of VA as Acting Attorney General. Sally Yates has been relieved.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 31, 2017
Predictably, Spicer was attacked and called a Nazi in response to his announcement…
you guys are nuts.
— Sahil Lavingia (@shl) January 31, 2017
Of course, because protecting the country from terrorist attacks makes one a Nazi…
Fired for doing the right thing? Weak.
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) January 31, 2017
no. Fired for insubordination
— Wits McGee (@wits_mcgee) January 31, 2017
Apparently, some on the left think protecting the country from terrorism is evil:
you are evil people and history is watching. you won't win this and afterwards you'll have nothing but ashes.
— Game of Thornes (@GeoffThorne) January 31, 2017
Jonathan Adler, who teaches courses in constitutional, administrative, and environmental law at the Case Western University School of Law, wrote:
Some have asked what I think AAG Yates should have done, given her views of the EO. My answer is simple: Resign, and then publicly explain her reasons for doing so. If Yates believes that the President’s various comments about a “Muslim ban” undermine her ability to defend (or oversee the defense of) an executive action that OLC concluded (and she does not dispute) is “lawful on its face,” she should have stepped down as Acting Attorney General.
There is some precedent for this sort of thing. Recall the “Saturday Night Massacre,” when Attorney General Eliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckleshaus resigned rather than fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox at President Nixon’s insistence. If AAG Yates believes she is being asked to do something that violates her conscience — as she apparently does — this is the model she should have followed.
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