Tag Archives: Department of Justice

Dispelling 3 Myths Swirling Around the Sally Yates Controversy

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates did a very smart thing … for her career. In her refusal to enforce President Trump’s immigration ban against a number of dangerous countries—Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia—Yates has rocketed into the progressive political exosphere.

She may hope to someday become Senator Yates.

A number of misconceptions have been swirling around Yates’ controversial memorandum, and President Trump’s subsequent decision to fire her and add Dana J. Boente as the new acting attorney general. Here are a few brief arguments dispelling those mythic notions.

The first myth is that somehow, this Obama appointee has suddenly grown to love our system of checks and balances.

Quite aside from the question of the Trump immigration order’s lawfulness, Yates’ concern is “whether any policy choice embodied in the Executive Order is wise or just.” But it’s neither the duty nor the prerogative of the president’s agents to choose not to enforce a policy based on the wisdom or justness of that policy.

Her insubordination is a revival-in-miniature of the Obama administration’s assault on the separation of powers. Simply put, this is “an act of sabotage” intended to make governance more difficult for the Trump administration, with the added bonus that Yates gets to genuflect in an act of progressive piety. The idea that Yates, an attorney appointed to the Obama Department of Justice, is concerned about presidential overreach is, to be generous, risible.

 Continue reading at Townhall.

The DOJ was right to phase out private prisons, but there’s much more work to be done

Earlier this week, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced that the federal government will be halting its use of private prisons. Although very few federal prisoners are held in private prisons compared to at the state level, this is still an important symbolic decision in response to a recent Office of Inspector General (OIG) report that found less safety and weaker security in privately run prisons than public ones.

Although the libertarian instinct might be to criticize this decision—why should the federal government have a prison monopoly?—it’s worth recognizing that private incarceration facilities have long been mismanaged and fraught with problems, with disastrous consequences for inmate quality of life. This is a step in the right direction: towards the proper and humane treatment of inmates, and away from punitive experiences and over-incarceration.

Private prisons began in the 1980s, largely as a response to the War on Drugs and subsequent overcrowding. Since private prisons are profit-motivated, their operators (in theory) have incentives to run them well while keeping costs as low as possible.

Continue reading at Rare.