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Deputy AG Fired for Defending the Constiution

  1. Don W profile image83
    Don Wposted 10 months ago

    Sally Yates was fired for doing her job, defending the Constitution and people's civil liberties(1).

    She expressed a professional opinion about the legality of President Bannon's Muslim ban. He didn't like it, and fired her.

    This is a dangerous development, as explained in this comment from Matthew Miller:

    "In our democracy, the president is not supposed to dictate to the AG how to interpret the law. This is a major breakdown in the rule of law."(2)

    The irony is that back in 2015, during her confirmation, a certain senator named Jeff Sessions asked Yates:

    “If the views the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no?”

    To which Yates replied:

    "I believe the attorney general or deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and Constitution and give their independent legal advice to the president".

    That is what she did. That is why she was fired.

    My question is, should an AG, or acting AG, be fired for offering professional legal advice? Isn't giving legal advice to an administration one of the key functions of an AG ? How can this possibly be a good thing for the rule of law?

    (1) https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/ar … ms/515091/
    (2) http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/1/30 … lls-lackey

    1. wilderness profile image99
      wildernessposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      I'm sorry, Don, but she wasn't fired for "defending the constitution".  She was fired for instructing that no US attorney could defend the US against suits concerning the ban on travel.  As usual, someone is putting out false information in an effort to spin it into something it isn't.

      "WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she ordered Justice Dept. lawyers to stop defending Mr. Trump’s executive order banning new arrivals to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries."

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-fires … lly-yates/

      "The dramatic move came soon after CNN reported Yates told Justice Department lawyers not to make legal arguments defending Trump's executive order on immigration and refugees."

      http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/30/politics/ … index.html

      "The AP is reporting Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a Democratic appointee, directed Justice Department attorneys not to defend President Donald Trump’s executive order saying today that she was not convinced that the order was lawful."

      http://www.worldnewspolitics.com/2017/0 … mps-order/

      This reminds me of Kim Davis, who also refused to allow her employees to do their job and faced severe consequences as a result.  It also brings to mind the people that blamed Hillary Clinton for doing her job years ago in defending an accused rapist - something we might assume she didn't want to do - that was required by her job.

      If you don't like what your job requires of you, quit the job.  Don't try to force your personal ethics onto your employees (Clinton WAS our "employee" at the time) by forcing them to renege on their job requirements.  Even if Yates thinks she will lose the suit, that the action was illegal, she is still bound to defend it, just as Clinton was.

      So no, she should not be fired for offering legal advice.  Giving such advice is a function of an AG.  It is a good thing because it reinforces that people being paid to do a job (Kim Davis) must either do the job or quit, and spinning a refusal to do that job into giving advice doesn't change what it was.

      1. Don W profile image83
        Don Wposted 10 months agoin reply to this

        Her professional opinion was that the executive order is unconstitutional. Therefore instructing US attorneys to defend that order would have shown a lack of integrity, and a disregard for the Constitution. Faced with a choice between doing what President Bannon wants, and defending the Constitution, she chose the Constitution. So she was fired for acting on her professional opinion in defense of the Constitution instead of obeying Bannon.

        If Loretta Lynch's professional opinion was that Clinton had broken the law, and she acted on that opinion by advising the DoJ to prosecute, you're saying it would have been acceptable for Obama to order Lynch not to prosecute. Then if Lynch refused, for him to fire her? Really?

        1. wilderness profile image99
          wildernessposted 10 months agoin reply to this

          And Clinton showed a lack of integrity in defending a rapist.

          I disagree.  Did it occur to you that what the constitution says is whatever SCOTUS says it says, not what the AG thinks?  That until a court makes an actual determination, a verdict from a jury or judge, that all her opinions put together aren't worth a plugged nickel?  That she didn't "defend" anything at all, much less the Constitution of the US?

          If she actually believed that her opinion overrides the decision of a court, that judges and juries are unnecessary after her opinion has been given, it's a good thing she is no longer a part of the dept.  Not just the position of AG but out of the department entirely.

          No, Don - this time it isn't even open to debate.  This time it isn't about legality, and it isn't about the mighty liberal sense of ethics and morals.  It's about a woman who denied the United States of America the minds and time of the attorneys the country has hired to defend it.  It's about a woman who not only refused to do the job she is paid to do, but ordered her subordinates to refuse to do their jobs as well.  Attorneys, General or not, are not there to make or interpret law; they are there to provide the legal defense, in a court of law, that the country requires.

          1. ahorseback profile image81
            ahorsebackposted 10 months agoin reply to this

            Loretta Lynch---- has already proven that the position of attorney general OR acting attorney general as it would be ,  IS  A Cabinet Position not a Supreme Court judgeship .    The deputy or acting AG has every right to express her politics   AND to  be fired for doing so !

            Just ask Bill Clinton - Loretta Lynch ?

            1. Don W profile image83
              Don Wposted 10 months agoin reply to this

              You missed the point entirely.

              IF Loretta Lynch had advised the DoJ to prosecute Clinton, and Obama fired her because of it, would that be acceptable?

              1. ahorseback profile image81
                ahorsebackposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                The AG or the acting AG is a cabinet post  Don !      When you work for the man - you work for the man . No cause- no reason required !  I hope she enjoys her retirement !

                1. Don W profile image83
                  Don Wposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                  Let me get this straight. You believe it would have been acceptable for Obama to fire Lynch for advising that Clinton be prosecuted? Is that what you're saying?

                  And where the choice is between Constitution and President as it is was with Yates, there is no choice. The Constitution comes first. Always!

                  The president is not a king. He is secondary to the Constitution. That's is literally the whole point of it.

                  1. wilderness profile image99
                    wildernessposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                    But this isn't about an AG that gave advice, it's about and AG that refused to do her job!.  That refused to either defend her employer, or let anyone else do it either!

                    You can try and spin it into giving advice, but it wasn't then and it isn't now.  It's about refusal to stand before a judge and defend the actions of the United States of America.  That's her job, and whether she thinks the actions were legal or not, or even whether they actually were legal or not does not relieve her of that responsibility.

                  2. ahorseback profile image81
                    ahorsebackposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                    Don W. instead of an Obama administration that waved the constitution in the air claiming he could and did totally ignore it ,   This president will return Americas government  to it's unflinching  adherence to following the constitutional law.   Trump has , had every right to fire her - she works FOR the federal government  .

                    Guess what ?  This is part and parcel to "draining the swamp" of political activists representing the constitutional laws.  Good for Trump !

                2. colorfulone profile image85
                  colorfuloneposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                  Trump is doing what Carter and Obama did, and he is simply carrying out Obama's law.  Its funny to watch the lefties get triggered and try to discredit Trump in anyway they can, even if it means shooting themselves in the foot. 

                  Meanwhile, Trumps' approval rating keeps going higher because of all the anti-Trump stuff.  Seems to be backfiring...its just not working.  I get a kick out of it!

          2. Don W profile image83
            Don Wposted 10 months agoin reply to this

            Think about what's in the Constitution. Lawyers who defend alleged criminals are upholding the Constitution. That's not what this is about. No one is being put on trial here.

            This is about Bannon overriding the professional legal advice of the acting attorney general, because he didn't like it. That's a dangerous precedent. If the President is only going to accept the AG's legal advice if he agrees with it, then the role is essentially defunct.

            Remember when I predicted that Trump would be a threat to civil society, and you said that can't happen because of the limitations of the office? What you are seeing now is Bannon essentially circumventing those limitations, and trying to remove the checks and balances that have prevented presidents wielding too much power. If Lynch had recommended prosecution for Clinton, you know full Obama would never have fired her because he disagreed with that opinion. Not because he couldn't, but because he knew he shouldn't.

            And that's what's so dangerous about this situation. These types of limitations are self-imposed. They are based on convention and tradition, and assume a minimum level of reasonability. Someone with the stated goal of wanting to "destroy the state" (Bannon's exact words), will not heed those conventions.

            So you are wrong about this Wilderness. There is effectively a coup d'etat in progress, but your hope that Trump will be the leader you've been waiting for, is blinding you to that fact.

            1. wilderness profile image99
              wildernessposted 10 months agoin reply to this

              "No one is being put on trial here. "

              They most certainly ARE being put on trial.  The United States has now been sued multiple times in multiple courts.  Without, according to Yates, any right to counsel.

              It's not about Bannon, it's not about Yates's advice.  It's about her refusal to provide legal counsel in a court of law, which is a part of she is being paid to do. 

              No, I'm not wrong, even though there really is a coup d'etat in progress, with firmly entrenched politicians trying to kick out the newcomer.  You do not get to make up reasons for actions in order to spin those actions into supporting reasons for that coup d'etat, and all the claims in the world that you do isn't going to change it.

              1. Don W profile image83
                Don Wposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                But you are wrong. The Constitution is being attacked by President Bannon. Yates (rightly) refused to participate in that attack, and he fired her. Bannon has placed himself on the National Security Council and consolidated power across all the federal agencies. Those agencies have already reported they have not been consulted on his executive orders. They have effectively been cut out of the loop in an attempt to circumvent the typical checks and balances within an administration. You know, little things like the AG advising not to do something because it's illegal!

                This is a power grab, pure and simple, and I predict here and now, there is worse to come. The Constitution will be attacked further. When it happens, I'll quote this comment back at you. Sadly, even then, I think you'll be too blind to see the danger.

                1. wilderness profile image99
                  wildernessposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                  OK Don.  I give.  You wish to use another Kim Davis event in your attacks on President Trump, and to do so you must change the cause of an event to something totally irrelevant.

                  You do that.  You even go ahead and publicize the lie that it's about advice she gave (you really think that Trump has never received legal advice he didn't like, or that he fires any lawyer giving it?).  You have thousands (millions?) of people doing the same thing, all over the country, and about everything under the sun.  No one seems to care any more about truth or honesty, so why should you be any different?

                  So go ahead with your project.  I won't bother you any more about it.

                  1. Don W profile image83
                    Don Wposted 10 months agoin reply to this

                    Truth, honesty? Look at what happened with Steven Mnuchin and Rep. Tom Price today. Quorum rules require the minority party to take part in confirmation votes. Democrats won't play ball, so now the Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee has "suspended" the rules. The Republicans have simply appointed the nominees. First time in history that's happened. Wake up Wilderness, the country is being stolen right before your eyes. Bannon is subverting democracy and turning the government into a dictatorship. Trump is just his useful idiot. This Muslim ban is the beginning of a blitzkrieg. It's going to get worse if opposition cannot get organized.

    2. promisem profile image97
      promisemposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      I believe she had a right and responsibility to defy an order that she thought was on shaky Constitutional grounds. Otherwise, it would severely damage the credibility of the Justice Department.

      The Trump administration failed in its responsibility to vett the order in advance with the Justice Department before issuing it.

      The entire situation could have been avoided if Trump was less impulsive and more concerned about getting things right.

      Then again, Trump was within his right to fire her. She boxed him into a corner. He took the only way out. I'm sure she expected to get fired for it.

  2. Justin Peele profile image73
    Justin Peeleposted 10 months ago

    I'm not too certain about this but as of right now the executive cannot be qualified as legal or illegal.  I could be wrong but with lawsuits already making their way through court it seems as though we will get that decision.  Now I understand where you are coming from she gave her advice to the President but then said she would not enforce it/defend it and I think that is where the problem lies.  Yes she knows the law and if it will make it through the courts but I think that with her defiance of defending it she was no longer doing her duty..possibly.  This whole situation makes me think of President Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears.  The Supreme Court said that he could not move the Native Indians from their lands in the South.  Well he did it anyway and he told the Supreme Court that they can rule on it but they cannot enforce and he acted anyway.  The President did not like being told no so he got rid of her.  I understand that she is to give legal advice but again she is also supposed to support and defend the executive orders to a degree.  If she had such a problem with this order she could have recused the office and asked for a special lawyer to back the order.  What I have read was that this should not have happened in the first place because Trump should have kicked her out immediately.  But with her staying in office and saying no to Trump she becomes a hero to those who disagree with Trump.  I understand the frustrations and it may not bode well for the position of AG.

    1. wilderness profile image99
      wildernessposted 10 months agoin reply to this

      "Now I understand where you are coming from she gave her advice to the President but then said she would not enforce it/defend it and I think that is where the problem lies."

      You are correct in that that is where the problem lies.  Whether Trump had other opinions or not (he did) is irrelevant; her task was to defend the US in a court of law.  Whether the actions were legal or not, her task is to defend.  Not to enforce personal opinions, not even opinions as to the legality of an action.  That is the task of the jury.  Perhaps it's a good thing she is out of the department if she cannot differentiate between her job and that of a jury.

  3. colorfulone profile image85
    colorfuloneposted 10 months ago

    Ted Cruz said, “After eight long years of a lawless Obama Department of Justice, it is fitting–and sad–that the very last act of the Obama DOJ is for the Acting AG to defy the newly elected President, refuse to enforce the law, and force the President to fire her. Sally Yates now joins the ignominious succession, from Eric Holder to Loretta Lynch, of Attorneys General who put brazen partisan interests above fidelity to law.”

    “President Trump was exactly right to fire an acting Attorney General who refused to carry out her constitutional duty to enforce and defend the law. Yates’ lawless partisanship highlights why the Senate needs to act now–and Senate Democrats should end their extreme political obstruction and delay–and confirm Jeff Sessions immediately. America needs and deserves an Attorney General who will be faithful to the Constitution and uphold the law.”

    I'm happy that the Senate Judiciary finally approved Jeff Sessions as our Attorney General.  The Democrats were doing all they could to filibuster and wrongly held up the process for political reasons.  They must be scared to death of something, I wonder what that could be.  The law?

  4. colorfulone profile image85
    colorfuloneposted 10 months ago

    Judge refuses to extend order halting immigration ban...
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/ … story.html

 
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