President Donald Trump's dismissal of acting Attorney General Sally Yates was shocking, but when you look back at her confirmation hearing, her decision to stand against Trump's immigration order is anything but surprising. And the person who asked over a year ago whether or not she'd be willing to say "no" to the president makes the situation that much more applicable. During her 2015 confirmation as deputy attorney general, Jeff Sessions, Trump's current attorney general nominee, asked Yates a question that has become more important than anyone could have realized.
In a C-SPAN recording of Yates' confirmation hearing on March 24, 2015, she's asked numerous questions by congressional members from both sides of the aisle. When it is Sessions' turn to talk with the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia and determine whether or not she's ready for a deputy attorney general role, he posed a serious question:
Yates responded confidently, understanding the weight of his question:
And that is exactly what Yates chose to do, even if it meant her being fired as a result. In fact, the former acting attorney general wrote a letter explaining why she advised the DoJ to not defend Trump's executive order. Her words echo the statement she made months and months ago before being officially sworn-in. She wrote:
And Yates isn't the only one questioning the legality of Trump's temporary travel ban. In fact, it's possible that Trump's order could potentially violate the Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibits discriminating on the basis of nationality or religion while issuing immigrant visas.
Now that Yates has been replaced by Dana Boente, who has expressed that he will uphold Trump's executive order, her words shouldn't be forgotten. In fact, they've come full circle. Of all people, Sessions himself should take her decision into account should he be confirmed as attorney general.