Acting US Attorney General will not defend Muslim ban
The acting US Attorney General Sally Yates has instructed lawyers at the Department of Justice not to make legal arguments defending President Donald Trump's executive order banning immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, US media reported.
In a letter to government lawyers obtained by The New York Times, Yates said she is not convinced the executive order signed by Trump on Friday is lawful.
“I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,” read Yates’ letter according to The New York Times.
“At present, 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.”
“For as long as I am the acting attorney general, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the executive order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so,” Yates wrote.
Yates, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, will lead the Department of Justice until the US Senate confirms Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
The letter demonstrates the extent of the opposition to Trump’s controversial order in which he banned entry to travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries, and temporarily suspended the admittance of all refugees.
The order has been met by stiff protests and legal challenges, and Yates’ letter will be seen as a temporary victory for those opposing the ban.