Monday, February 6, 2017
Acting Attorney General Sarah Yates last week instructed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the Trump Administration's executive orders on immigration. By that night, she was fired. Immediately following, the order was rescinded.
Yates' letter was eloquent and clear in outlining her function within the government and how it differs from the role of White House legal counsel.
Yates' refusal to comply with orders contrary to accepted legal and human rights practice echoes the Justice Department's response to White House directives during Watergate. Then, White House disregard for the rule of law was rebuffed by Attorney General Elliot Richardson and others within Justice, leading to their firing. Those firings are known as the Saturday Night Massacre.
Just as Martha Davis' post noted Justice Scalia's remark that the Korematsu facts could happen again, we are reminded that executive attempts to dismantle fundamental legal structures is being repeated.
At the DC Women's March, Gloria Steinem spoke of President Trump's mental health problems. We now know that President Nixon was delusional and suffered from the same grandiosity as President Trump. But this time we were forewarned.