Elect Sally Yates U.S. Senator for Georgia
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This is a petition to pledge your support and encourage Sally Yates to run for U.S. Senator in her home state of Georgia. Born and raised in the Peach State, Sally Yates was described by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's, Henry Unger, as being "born with the law in her blood." Her grandmother was one of the first women admitted to the Georgia Bar, and her father, Kelley Quillian, was an attorney and judge who served on the Georgia Court of Appeals.
Yates attended the University of Georgia, where she received a BA in journalism and a Juris Doctor degree from UGA's School of Law, graduating magna cum laude. While in law school, Yates served as the executive editor of the Georgia Law Review. She was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1986 and joined the law firm King & Spalding in Atlanta soon after.
In 1989, Sally Yates was hired as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia. She prosecuted a variety of types of cases ranging from drug trafficking and white-collar fraud, to child exploitation and cyber threats. In 1994, she became Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section.
Sally Yates was the lead prosecutor in the successful conviction of the terrorist, Eric Rudolph, who committed a series of anti-abortion and anti-gay bombings across the southern United States from 1996 to 1998, as well as the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, which killed two people and injured over 120 others.
Yates rose to First Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2002 and then to Acting U.S. Attorney in 2004. President Obama nominated Yates to be U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Georgia. Upon her confirmation by the Senate on March 10, 2010, she became the first woman to hold that position in the Northern District of Georgia. She was later appointed to serve as Vice Chair of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee.
In 2015, the United States Senate confirmed Sally Yates as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, the second-highest-ranking position in the Justice Department. It was during her confirmation hearing, when questioned by Senator Jeff Sessions if she would disobey a president's unlawful orders, when she responded that she would have "an obligation to follow the law and the Constitution, and to give an independent legal advice to the president."
As the Deputy Attorney General, Sally Yates was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Justice Department, which included approximately 113,000 employees. In 2015, she authored the policy, known as the "Yates memo", prioritizing the prosecution of executives for corporate crimes.
In January 2017, Sally Yates accepted a request from the incoming Trump administration to serve as Acting Attorney General, beginning January 20, 2017, and until the successor for Attorney General Lynch would be confirmed by the United States Senate.
Later that same month, Yates warned the Trump administration that National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn had not been truthful about his contacts with Russia related to sanctions and that he was vulnerable to blackmail by Russian intelligence. However the Trump administration failed to act and it was only after The Washington Post publicly reported Yates's warning on February 13, 2017, that Flynn resigned within a few hours.
In a New York Times editorial published on July 28, 2017, Yates expressed concern about Trump's political influence on the Justice Department, writing "President Trump’s actions appear aimed at destroying the fundamental independence of the Justice Department. […] Its investigations and prosecutions must be conducted free from any political interference or influence. […] The very foundation of our justice system — the rule of law — depends on it."
Donald Trump's executive order on travel and immigration had been approved as to “form and legality” by the Department of Justice’s Legal Counsel; nonetheless, on January 30, 2017, Sally Yates ordered the Justice Department not to defend the order because she was not convinced it was lawful. Her decision came after several federal courts had issued stays on various parts of the order to stop their implementation, and many U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents did not follow the stays.
In a letter to DOJ staff, she wrote: "At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities of the Department of Justice, nor am I convinced that the executive order 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. For as long as I am the acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of this executive order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so."
Upon announcing her decision not to defend the order, Sally Yates was immediately dismissed by the Trump administration via a hand-delivered letter. She was replaced by Dana Boente, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, who ordered the Justice Department to enforce the executive order immediately upon taking office.
Sally Yates has demonstrated a life-long commitment of serving the people of Georgia and the United States of America, through her 28 years of service in the Justice Department and her UNWAVERING devotion to our most sacred document; the U.S. Constitution. The citizens of the great State of Georgia would be well-served by electing Sally Yates, U.S. Senator. By signing this petition, you are pledging to support Sally Yates, both financially and also by volunteering in her campaign, should she choose to accept and announce her candidacy to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate.
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