[private]In less than 24 hours, Sally Quillian Yates made the quick transformation from obscure federal bureaucrat to the person that everyone’s talking about (or cussing at) on social media.
Yates, a lawyer with a thoroughly Georgian background, was serving as the acting attorney general of the U.S., killing time until a permanent successor was confirmed, when she made the fateful decision not to defend Donald Trump’s executive order banning Muslim immigrants from selected countries.
She instructed Department of Justice attorneys not to defend Trump’s order, which she thinks is in violation of the Constitution. As her opposition became a story dominating the headlines, Trump fired her and replaced her with a U.S. attorney from Virginia.
Who is Sally Yates? Her father and grandfather were Georgia judges. She was a federal prosecutor in Atlanta who secured convictions of corrupt Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell and Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph.
She is someone whose professionalism has been praised by people from both parties.
McCracken “Ken” Poston, a criminal defense lawyer from Ringgold who served in the Georgia House in the 1990s, speaks well of her, even though she worked energetically to put some of his clients in jail.
“Sally and I went to law school together at Georgia,” Poston said. “I had several cases going against her office when she was the top federal prosecutor in Atlanta. She ran a very tight ship.”
“She is an effective lawyer and a professional foremost,” Poston said. “She is the best example of professionalism in public service that I know of, and I know a lot of public servants.
If she said there were legal problems with that order, then there were legal problems with that order. You can take that to the bank.”
Yates received similar praise from Sen. Johnny Isakson, a staunch Republican, when she was nominated by President Obama as Deputy Attorney General in 2015. Isakson and Republican Sen. David Perdue both voted to confirm her along with 82 other senators of both parties.
“For 25 years, she has been the lead prosecutor in the northern district of Georgia,” Isakson said at that time. “She has been an equal opportunity prosecutor — she’s prosecuted Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Olympic park bombers, or anybody that violated the public trust or abused power.”
“She is fair; she is smart; she is intelligent; and as a Georgia Bulldog, she’s what we call a double-dawg,” Isakson said. “She has her bachelor’s degree and her law degree from the University of Georgia . . . Sally Quillian Yates is a great Georgian and will be a great Deputy U.S. Attorney General of the United States of America.”
While Trump supporters are ripping her apart on social media, Yates has become an instant hero to Democrats and anti-Trump factions. She is already being urged to run for governor in 2018 but has made no indication as to what her future plans might be.
Whatever her future holds, Trump has effectively made Yates a political martyr.
Deal appoints Douglas County judge
Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed Cynthia C. Adams as a Superior Court judge in the Douglas Judicial Circuit. She will replace Robert J. James, who resigned from the bench.
Adams was judge pro tempore of the Douglas County Juvenile Court. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Oakwood College and a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law.
© 2017 by The Georgia Report