Monday, January 30, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Attorney General Says Justice Department Won’t Defend Trump’s Ban On Muslims. Trump Attacks On Twitter

In an unexpected announcement acting Attorney General Sally Yates said the Justice Department won’t defend President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking all refugees and certain foreign nationals.

Yates, an appointee of President Obama, wrote to Justice Department lawyers...

At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.

The announcement from Yates delivers a devastating blow to Trump's executive order that effectively suspended all refugee resettlement for 120 days, halted Syrian refugee resettlement entirely and barring entry of nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Before Yates’ letter, the Justice Department said that the Office of Legal Counsel at DOJ had cleared the executive order but as Yates made clear in her letter, that review was focused on the narrow question of whether it is lawful on its face and properly drafted and...

 “does not address whether any policy choice embodied in an Executive Order is wise or just.

Trump of course attacked Yates on twitter implying that her decision stemmed from the fact that she was an appointee of President Obama...


Trump’s order faces multiple lawsuits, and several courts had already issued orders that led to the release of some individuals detained due to the executive order. But the refusal of the Justice Department to defend the order leaves it in legal limbo.

Read the full text of Yates’ letter below...

On January 27, 2017, the President signed an Executive Order regarding immigrants and refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries. The order has now been challenged in a number of jurisdictions. As the Acting Attorney General, it is my ultimate 
responsibility to determine the position of the Department of Justice in these actions.
My role is different from that of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), which, through administrations of both parties, has reviewed Executive Orders for form and legality before they are issued. OLC’s review is limited to the narrow question of whether, in OLC’s view, a proposed Executive Order is lawful on its face and properly drafted. Its review does not take account of statements made by an administration or it surrogates close in time to the issuance of an Executive Order that may bear on the order’s purpose. And importantly, it does not address whether any policy choice embodied in an Executive Order is wise or just.
Similarly, in litigation, DOJ Civil Division lawyers are charged with advancing reasonable legal arguments that can be made supporting an Executive Order. But my role as leader of this institution is different and broader. My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts. In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right. At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful. 
Consequently, for as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so. 

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