The acting attorney general who was fired by Donald Trump after opposing his immigration ban has been nominated for the John F Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
Sally Yates sparked controversy after she refused to back the President’s travel ban which halted admission to refugees and as well as immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.
After a federal judge ordered a review of the policy, Ms Yates announced that her staff at the Justice Department would not seek to defend it in court as she objected on grounds of conscience, writing in a letter to her staff that she wasn’t “convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.”
Mr Trump promptly terminated her employment.
Democrat politician Jackie Speier has announced she has nominated Ms Yates for the Profile in Courage Award, which is presented in memory of former President John F Kennedy. The prize is described as “the nation’s most prestigious award for public servants”.
The award’s mission statement says: “The award recognizes a public official (or officials) at the federal, state or local level whose actions demonstrate the qualities of politically courageous leadership in the spirit of Profiles in Courage, President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer prize-winning book, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. Senators who risked their careers by embracing unpopular positions for the greater good.”
Previous winners include George H. W. Bush (2014) and John McCain (1999).
Mr Trump has defended his decision to fire Ms Yates. In a statement announcing termination of her employment, a White House press officer wrote: “The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States. This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.
“Ms Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration. It is time to get serious about protecting our country.”
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
1/9 Trump and the media
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes questions during the daily press briefing
2/9 Trump and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Union leaders applaud US President Donald Trump for signing an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington DC. Mr Trump issued a presidential memorandum in January announcing that the US would withdraw from the trade deal
3/9 Trump and the Mexico wall
A US Border Patrol vehicle sits waiting for illegal immigrants at a fence opening near the US-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas. The number of incoming immigrants has surged ahead of the upcoming Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, who has pledged to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. A signature campaign promise, Mr Trump outlined his intention to build a border wall on the US-Mexico border days after taking office
4/9 Trump and abortion
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Chief of Staff Reince Priebus looks on in the Oval Office of the White House. Mr Trump reinstated a ban on American financial aide being granted to non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling, provide abortion referrals, or advocate for abortion access outside of the United States
5/9 Trump and the Dakota Access pipeline
Opponents of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines hold a rally as they protest US President Donald Trump's executive orders advancing their construction, at Columbus Circle in New York. US President Donald Trump signed executive orders reviving the construction of two controversial oil pipelines, but said the projects would be subject to renegotiation
6/9 Trump and 'Obamacare'
Nancy Pelosi who is the minority leader of the House of Representatives speaks beside House Democrats at an event to protect the Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles, California. US President Donald Trump's effort to make good on his campaign promise to repeal and replace the healthcare law failed when Republicans failed to get enough votes. Mr Trump has promised to revisit the matter
7/9 Donald Trump and 'sanctuary cities'
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January threatening to pull funding for so-called "sanctuary cities" if they do not comply with federal immigration law
8/9 Trump and the travel ban
US President Donald Trump has attempted twice to restrict travel into the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries. The first attempt, in February, was met with swift opposition from protesters who flocked to airports around the country. That travel ban was later blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The second ban was blocked by a federal judge a day before it was scheduled to be implemented in mid-March
SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images
9/9 Trump and climate change
US President Donald Trump sought to dismantle several of his predecessor's actions on climate change in March. His order instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate the Clean Power Plan, which would cap power plant emissions
In the absence of Ms Yates, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia has been appointed as acting Attorney General. The position is a short term and temporary role while the Senate confirms President Trump’s pick Jeff Sessions, who is currently being resisted by Democratic Senators.Reuse content