In early 2015, the Republicans took Sally Q. Yates to task over President Obama’s executive order liberalizing immigration. At the hearing, she was cuttingly questioned about her ability and willingness to stand up to the president. Jeff Sessions, current attorney general nominee, asked Ms. Yates “If the views the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say ‘No?’” To which Yates replied, “I believe the attorney general or deputy general has an obligation to follow the law and Constitution and give their independent legal advice to the president.”


On Monday, Ms. Yates found herself, unfortunately, faced with the realization of that hypothetical. As acting attorney general, Ms. Yates made the hard, yet right, decision to defy the immigration ban outlined in President Trump’s executive order. And, in true Trump fashion, she was promptly fired. Despite the political divisiveness we’re experiencing, Ms. Yates received bipartisan praise for her decision. A gesture that, one can only hope, means there are more ‘do-gooders’ in Washington than previously believed.

In a letter to lawyers at the Justice Department, Ms. Yates wrote, referring to her obligations as acting attorney general, “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.” Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga, at the aforementioned hearing, said of Ms. Yates “She will be a hero of the American people, a hero of what’s right.” He was absolutely right and we, the American people, thank her for her service.