Special to the Cape Charles Mirror by Paul Plante
As an American citizen who was born here, and who was educated here in American values by other older Americans who had just fought a war against Nazi aggression in Europe and Japanese aggression in the far east, or had held down the home front here while the war was being waged, I frankly find myself truly dumbfounded by all the comments coming out of the mouths of all these politicians following the firing of Obama holdover Sally Yates in the misnamed United States Department of Justice.
In an article in the British publication THE GUARDIAN, which I find often has better news coverage of what is going on in politics over here than do our main-stream rags, entitled “Sally Yates fired by Trump after acting US attorney general defied travel ban – White House says Obama appointee ˜betrayed’ justice department with letter instructing officials not to enforce president’s executive order” by David Smith and Ben Jacobs in Washington and Spencer Ackerman in New York on Tuesday, 31 January 2017, we have Sally Yates, herself, an Obama holdover, telling us as follows:
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, Yates wrote in a letter to justice department lawyers.
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.
Those, people, are her own words.
According the Guardian article, as could be expected in this highly partisan and toxic political environment Washington, D.C. has become, Democrats condemned the dismissal:
Zac Petkanas, a senior adviser to the Democratic National Committee, said: Donald Trump can try to silence heroic patriots like Sally Yates who dare to speak truth to power about his illegal anti-Muslim ban that emboldens terrorists around the globe.”
“But he cannot silence the growing voices of an American people now wide awake to his tyrannical presidency.
Now, people, this is where it simply gets absurd and heads towards insane at light speed, because to believe a word Zac Petkanas, a senior adviser to the Democratic National Committee, says above here, you have to believe in some kind of a weird and warped and bastardized and illegitimate alternate American history than that which I learned as a young American back at the close of WWII, when Washington, D.C. still functioned, before it developed the toxic partisan gridlock on view here in this Sally Yates kerfuffle.
So was Sally Yates really some kind of “heroic patriot” as Zac Petkanas, a senior adviser to the Democratic National Committee, says, because she refused to support an order of a president from a different party than hers telling her to enforce the law as written, when she had no trouble obeying orders from Barack Hussein Obama telling her to ignore the law as written?
Or was she simply someone who served at the pleasure of the sitting president and could be dismissed at will if he thought she was not capable of doing her job?
Let’s take a look and see as we should be doing as responsible and conscientious American citizens.
According to WIKIPEDIA, the United States Attorney General (A.G.) is the head of the United States Department of Justice per 28 U.S.C. Â§ 503, concerned with legal affairs, and is usually assumed to be the chief law enforcement officer and chief lawyer of the United States government.
28 U.S. Code Â§ 503, entitled “Attorney General” merely says as follows concerning the position:
The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, an Attorney General of the United States.
The Attorney General is the head of the Department of Justice.
Getting back to WIKIPEDIA, we have:
The attorney general serves as a member of the Cabinet of the President of the United States and is the only cabinet officer who does not have the title of secretary.
The Attorney General is appointed by the President and takes office after confirmation by the United States Senate.
He or she serves at the pleasure of the president and can be removed by the president at any time; the attorney general is also subject to impeachment by the House of Representatives and trial in the Senate for “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors”.
The office of Attorney General was established by Congress by the Judiciary Act of 1789.
The original duties of this officer were “to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his or her advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the president of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments.”
In 1870, the Department of Justice was established to support the attorney general in the discharge of their responsibilities.
Note those words clearly with respect to the supposed “heroic patriotism” of this Obama appointee Sally Yates: “serves at the pleasure of the president and can be removed by the president at any time” and “to give his or her advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the president of the United States.”
That is quite a different version of the facts than what Obama holdover Sally Yates is trying to feed us in the Guardian, as can also be seen in an article from FINDLAW written by an attorney entitled “What Does an Attorney General Do?” by Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 24, 2015, we are informed thusly:
There are district attorneys representing every county that take criminal cases to trial.
And states have their own state attorneys and attorneys general.
The U.S. Attorney General’s Office, often referred to as the Department of Justice, is in charge of prosecuting federal crimes in federal courts, and the Attorney General is the head of that office.
While lower level attorneys in the office are often the ones actually in court, the Attorney General can set policy for the office, order investigations, and designate which laws will be a priority.
The Judiciary Act of 1789 created the office of attorney general and outlined its original duties:
“… to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the president of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments.”
When you need a lawyer you ask that friend or cousin who went to law school.
When the U.S. government or any federal employee needs a lawyer, they go to the Attorney General’s office.
Along with the other most senior executive branch officials, the Attorney General serves in the president’s cabinet, advising and assisting the president in carrying out his or her duties.
Specifically, the AG will counsel the president on federal legal and law enforcement issues.
Now, that is all consistent with what I learned about our federal government when I was a young American, so when I read in the Guardian about Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, telling MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show “It certainly reminded me immediately of the Saturday night massacre,” I have to wonder if we are even on the same planet.
Says Tribe in the Guardian: as if history is being collapsed into a black hole and everything is happening faster than the speed of light.
Yes, Laurence, we are headed towards total insanity faster than the speed of light, and it is off-the-wall people like you who are setting the pace.
For those too young to remember, the so-called “Saturday Night Massacre” was the term used by political commentators to refer to U.S. President Richard Nixon’s dismissal of independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and as a result the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus on October 20, 1973, during the Watergate scandal.
By way of review for comparison here, in that case from long ago, which bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the dismissal of Sally Yates today, despite Tribes delusions to the contrary, A.G. Elliot Richardson appointed Cox in May of that year, after having given assurances to the House Judiciary Committee that he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the events surrounding the Watergate break-in of June 17, 1972.
There we are talking of actual crimes committed, and the relationship of a sitting president to those crimes.
Here we are talking about a presidential order to protect our national security.
Apples and kumquats!
In that case, when Cox issued a subpoena to President Nixon asking for copies of taped conversations recorded in the Oval Office and authorized by Nixon, the President initially refused to comply.
On Friday, October 19, 1973, Nixon offered what was later known as the Stennis Compromise”asking the infamously hard-of-hearing Senator John C. Stennis of Mississippi to review and summarize the tapes for the special prosecutor’s office.
Cox refused the compromise that same evening and it was believed that there would be a short rest in the legal maneuvering while government offices were closed for the weekend.
However, on the following day (a Saturday) Nixon ordered Attorney General Richardson to fire Cox.
Richardson refused, and resigned in protest.
Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox.
He also refused and resigned.
Nixon then ordered the Solicitor General, Robert Bork (as acting head of the Justice Department), to fire Cox.
Both Richardson and Ruckelshaus had given personal assurances to Congressional oversight committees that they would not interfere, but Bork had not.
Although Bork would later claim that he believed Nixon’s order to be valid and appropriate, he still considered resigning to avoid being “perceived as a man who did the President’s bidding to save my job.”
Nevertheless, having been brought to the White House by limousine and sworn in as Acting Attorney General, Bork wrote the letter firing Cox.
And that, folks, for those of us who were around back then, was the Saturday Night Special of the crook, Richard Milhaus Nixon, who had to resign as president.
None of that occurred here.
Sally Yates refused to enforce the laws of this nation as written, and for that she was properly canned.
Refusing to enforce the laws of this nation as written certainly serves to make Sally Yates a “heroic patriot” to the Democrat party in America, the party of Obama, but to me who served in combat in this nation’s military in Viet Nam, Sally Yates is simply somebody we are a lot better off not having serving in a position of responsibility in our federal government.