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.