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Law Professor Explains Why Trump Had No Choice But To Fire The Acting AG


Donald Trump fired acting United States Attorney General Sally Yates and replaced her with Dana Boente. Here’s why he’s legally allowed to do that.


After Acting Attorney General Sally Yates announced that she had ordered the U.S. Department of Justice not to enforce President Donald Trump’s recent executive order limiting immigration from terrorist safe havens, Trump immediately fired Yates and announced her temporary replacement. Yates took over the top Justice job following Loretta Lynch’s exit and pending Senate confirmation of Jeff Sessions, whose nomination is still pending in the Senate.

Josh Blackman, a law professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, explained on Twitter on Monday evening that Trump has clear authority to fire political appointees like Yates. Blackman further noted that if Yates truly felt the law was unconstitutional or legally unenforceable, she had an obligation to resign her position rather than simply refuse to do her job.

“Duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed belongs to POTUS alone,” Blackman explained. “If appointee gets in the way, removal is the only option.”

“The notion that an official could simply refuse to follow President’s order, rather than resign, is itself contrary to [separation] of powers,” he continued. “The President’s oath to support & defend the Constitution matters. If his appointees (or worse, holdovers) disagree, they should resign.”

Yates was a holdover from the Obama administration. Trump announced that she would be replaced by U.S. Attorney Dana Boente pending Senate confirmation of Sessions.

You can read Blackman’s full explanation from Twitter below.