Just as the those on the East Coast were wrapping up their workdays that have only become infinitely more stressful since January 19th, acting Attorney General Sally Yates dissented from the Trump administration yesterday in a way that temporarily allowed us to renew our conviction that justice—if even just the pursuit of it—could maybe exist. In response to Trump's executive order that halts the US refugee program and bans those from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the US for 90 days, Yates said that she didn't believe the order to be lawful and therefore would refuse to defend it.
Just a few hours later, the Trump administration delivered her a handwritten letter—she was fired and being replaced with US attorney Dana J. Boente the day before Jeff Sessions, a man who was once voted too racist to be a judge, could become Attorney General.
"The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States," a White House statement reads. According to an official quoted in the Washington Post with whom Yates had confided her decision prior to its announcement, this wasn't "how she would have preferred to end her 27-year career," though that she stood behind her refusal.
Immediately following Yates' ejection, New York Senator Chuck Schumer stood on the Senate Floor and linked the action to the Nixon-era "Saturday Night Massacre." The New York Times also echoed this sentiment:
Ms. Yates's order was a remarkable rebuke by a government official to a sitting president, and it recalled the so-called Saturday Night Massacre in 1973, when President Richard M. Nixon fired his attorney general and deputy attorney general for refusing to dismiss the special prosecutor in the Watergate case.
Today, we'll watch as the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Sessions. If the committee approves the nominee, we can expect a full Senate vote by the end of the week.
Senate committees were preparing to vote on the nominations of Tom Price for Health and Human Services and Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary today, but they've boycotted instead.
That's Bleak. Who's Working Against It?
The ACLU is not happy about Sessions, and have detailed his long history of voting against civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and reproductive rights. Recently, they've called for his confirmation to be stalled until the Muslim ban is stopped.