Tuesday, January 31, 2017
As I see it, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had four options regarding her opposition to President Trump's Executive Order on refugees, visas, and travel bans: 1) defend it in the courts since most or all of the Order is likely to be judicially upheld; 2) explain to the President in private why the parts you don't like are problematic and try to change his position; 3) accept the President's position if you fail to change his mind; or 4) resign in protest if you fail to change the President's mind. Yates, so far as is known, did none of those things. Instead, she loudly and publicly ordered her subordinates not to defend the OLC vetted Order in court--an Order promulgated by the head of the Executive Branch of the United States. Her firing was thus inevitable and fully justified. As a career move it was brilliant of course. She was about to ride off into the sunset as one of those career DOJ types who occasionally get elevated to a political leadership post. No doubt a cushy partnership awaited her at a prominent national firm if that was her desire, or perhaps she coveted an academic slot at a prominent law school. She will still get something like that, but is now a political celebrity as well with a possible political future. Well played, Ms. Yates.