This is exactly the sort of lawless moral preening and grandstanding from the left that is so dangerous. Americans of all political stripes should condemn it. Nobody appointed this woman philosopher-Queen of the country. Nobody appointed her the judge of right and wrong. Would Sally Yates want a conservative in her place ignoring the ruling of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that an executive order was legal in order to “Take a stand for what is right” from his conservative perspective? Of course not.
Name aside, the DOJs job isn’t about seeking some left-wing (or right-wing) politico’s view of justice. It’s about making sure that the duly-passed laws of the United States are enforced. If Yates felt that what she were doing were fundamentally violative of the Constitution, then she should have explained why and resigned. Otherwise, her personal views are irrelevant. — she’s a functionary with a job to do. If she refuses to do the job, she should have the dignity to quit. Jonathan Adler, no particular fan of the original executive order, has an excellent takedown at the Washington Post as does Jack Goldsmith (who was critical of the original order) at Lawfare. Even more damning, so does Brookings’ Benjamin Wittes, who had been absolutely excoriating in his criticism of Trump’s original order, but is just as tough on Yates, accusing her, correctly, of insubordination and arguing that her position “amply justified, indeed necessitated, her removal”.