Sally Yates was an obscure, left-wing activist who spent her career at the U.S. Department of Justice. She had risen to become the No. 2 person in that department and was tapped to be acting Attorney General until the Senate can confirm Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as the Attorney General. On Monday, Sally Yates got her 15 minutes of fame when she announced the Department of Justice would not defend President Trump’s ban on people coming to this nation from seven nations. The term nation has to be used loosely here, as five have no real functioning government. President Trump’s response was immediate and anyone who has even a passing familiarity with the president could see what was coming. The president told Yates, “Your fired.” As soon as Mrs. Yates made her announcement on Monday, the left swooned over her. The liberal media heralded the “defiant” acting Attorney General. After she was fired, CNN, the most busted name in news, called it “the Monday night massacre.” In the last few years, the left has decided that liberal government lawyers can select which laws they like and if there is a law they do not like, they can refuse to defend it. This is a great system for the left. A group files a lawsuit against something the left doesn’t like, the liberal government lawyer refuses to defend it, as President Obama’s DOJ refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, and then the law gets overturned because no one is defending it. Part of the statutory duties of the Attorney General and the state attorneys general is to defend the constitutionality of statutes, whether they agree with them or not. That was Sally Yates‘ job. Every first year law student understands that a lawyer owes an absolute duty of loyalty to their client. Every state codifies this in the rules and regulations concerning the behavior of lawyers. When Yates wrote the letter to DOJ attorneys telling them not to defend the President’s executive orders, she claimed that she had to stand for “what is right.” Sorry, you don’t get to make that determination. There was no legal justification for Mrs. Yates‘ decision. It was only partisan politics masked by a few meaningless words, wrapping the decision in left wing double speak. Lawyers, in rare instances, are allowed to disregard the wishes of clients. Those are instances when the client wants to commit a crime, a fraud on others or the courts and in some cases where legal arguments are frivolous. None of those apply here. If Mrs. Yates truly believed the Executive Order that President Trump signed was unlawful, instead of giving the Republican President the middle finger and very publicly refusing to follow the orders, she should have simply resigned. Instead, she wanted to become a hero to the radical left. She got her wish, as the left-wing media is now fawning over her. She will leave her job and no doubt be picked up by a big, left wing law firm and probably be asked by the Party of Treason to run for office as a Democrat in Georgia. In his letter firing Yates, President Trump said, “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.” She did more than betray the Department of Justice. She betrayed her client. Her client was the United States of America. Her job was to defend the laws of the United States of America. Ethically, if she could not defend a law, her only option was to resign. It was not her position to refuse to defend the law. President Trump should follow up his firing of Yates with a disciplinary complaint to the state of Georgia Bar and every other bar where Mrs. Yates is admitted. President Trump has fired Sally Yates, but it should not end there. No lawyer who betrays her client should be allowed to practice law.
Agreed!! Well said, Judson. Attorney, and former TN Assistant DA Judson Phillips was the author of that outstanding op/ed. Hopefully Pres. Trump will take Judson’s advice, and write the Georgia Bar.